Polytrauma independent of therapeutic intervention alters the gastrointestinal microbiome

Susannah E. Nicholson, Daniel Merrill, Caroline Zhu, David M. Burmeister, Yi Zou, Zhao Lai, Daniel N. Darlington, Aaron M. Lewis, Larry Newton, Shannon Scroggins, Brian J Eastridge, Martin G Schwacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: This study characterizes the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome in a pre-clinical polytrauma hemorrhage model. Methods: Rats (n = 6) were anesthetized, hemorrhaged 20% of their blood volume, and subjected to a femur fracture and crush injuries to the small intestine, liver, and limb skeletal muscle without resuscitation. Fecal samples were collected pre-injury and 2 h post-injury. Purified DNA from the samples underwent 16s rRNA sequencing for microbial quantification. Bacterial diversity analysis and taxonomic classification were performed. Results: Following injury, the gut microbial composition was altered with a shift in beta diversity and significant differences in the relative abundance of taxa. The relative abundance of the families Lachnospiraceae and Mogibacteriaceae was increased at 2 h, while Barnesiellaceae and Bacteroidaceae were decreased. Alpha diversity was unchanged. Conclusions: The GI microbiome is altered in rats subjected to a polytrauma hemorrhage model at 2 h post-injury in the absence of antibiotics or therapeutic interventions. This study demonstrates that the GI microbiome is altered 2 h post-injury in a pre-clinical polytrauma hemorrhage rat model in the absence of therapeutic intervention. While species number or diversity remained similar post-injury, a dysbiosis in microbial composition occurred at this early time point with changes seen in several bacterial families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Gastrointestinal microbiome
  • Hemorrhage
  • Microbial diversity
  • Polytrauma
  • Traumatic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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