FMT Fecal microbiota transplanted from old mice promotes more colonic inflammation, proliferation, and tumor formation in azoxymethane-treated A/J mice than microbiota originating from young mice (Nov 2023) findings support age-associated risk for CRC can be transmitted between individuals

Fecal Microbiota Transplants

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023


Aging is a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC). It is well established that gut microbial dysbiosis can play a role in the etiology of CRC. Although the composition of the gut microbial community changes with age and is reported to become more pro-inflammatory, it is unclear whether such changes are also pro-tumorigenic for the colon.

To address this gap, we conducted fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) from young (DY, ~6 wk) and old (DO, ~72 wk) donor mice into young (8 wk) recipient mice that were pre-treated with antibiotics. After initiating tumorigenesis with azoxymethane, recipients were maintained for 19 wk during which time they received monthly FMT boosters.

Compared to recipients of young donors (RY), recipients of old donors (RO) had an approximately 3-fold higher prevalence of histologically confirmed colon tumors (15.8 vs 50%, Chi2 P = .03), approximately 2-fold higher proliferating colonocytes as well as significantly elevated colonic IL-6, IL-1β and Tnf-α. Transcriptomics analysis of the colonic mucosa revealed a striking upregulation of mitochondria-related genes in the RO mice, a finding corroborated by increased mitochondrial abundance. Amongst the differences in fecal microbiome observed between DY and DO mice, the genera Ruminoclostridium, Lachnoclostridium and Marvinbryantia were more abundant in DY mice while the genera Bacteroides and Akkermansia were more abundant in DO mice. Amongst recipients, Ruminoclostridium and Lachnoclostridium were higher in RY mice while Bacteroides was higher in RO mice.

Differences in fecal microbiota were observed between young and old mice, some of which persisted upon transplant into recipient mice. Recipients of old donors displayed significantly higher colonic proliferation, inflammation and tumor abundance compared to recipients of young donors. These findings support an etiological role for altered gut microbial communities in the increased risk for CRC with increasing age and establishes that such risk can be transmitted between individuals.
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