2015 Volume 40 Issue 4 Pages 485-494
To reveal the toxicological effects of the hepatotoxic microcystin-leucine arginine (MC-LR) on gut microbial community composition in different gut regions, we conducted a subchronic exposure of BALB/c mice to MC-LR via intragastric administration. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was employed to profile the shifts of microbes after MC-LR treatment in the jejuno-ileum, caecum and colon. DGGE profiles analysis showed that MC-LR increased the microbial species richness (number of microbial bands) in the caecum and colon as well as microbial diversity (Shannon-Wiener index) in the caecum. The cluster analysis of DGGE profiles indicated that the microbial structures in the caecum and colon shifted significantly after MC-LR treatment, while that in the jejuno-ileum did not. All the relatively decreased gut microbes belonged to Clostridia in the Firmicutes phylum, and most of them were Lachnospiraceae. The increased ones derived from a variety of microbes including species from Porphyromonadaceae and Prevotellaceae in the Bacteroidetes phylum, as well as Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae in the Firmicutes phylum, and among which, the increase of Barnesiella in Porphyromonadaceae was most remarkable. In conclusion, subchronic exposure to MC-LR could disturb the balance of gut microbes in mice, and its toxicological effects varied between the jejuno-ileum and the other two gut regions.