Depletion of Intestinal Microbiome Partially Rescues Bone Loss in Sickle Cell Disease Male Mice.


Department of Medicine, UConn Health, Farmington, CT, 06030, USA. [Email]


Osteoporosis or osteopenia are common clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease (SCD) with unclear mechanisms. Since senescence of circulating neutrophil can be modulated by signals derived from intestinal microbiome and neutrophils are abundant in bone marrow and can regulate osteoblasts and osteoclasts, we examined whether gut microbiome contributes to bone loss in SCD mice. SCD and their littermates control mice were treated with antibiotics to deplete gut microbiome. At the end of 7 weeks treatment, serum was collected for biochemistry marker measurements. Bone mass and remodeling were evaluated by dual beam X-ray absorptiometry, micro-computed tomography, and histomorphometry. Bone-related genes in tibia and barrier marker genes in the small intestine were analyzed by quantitative PCR. Antibiotic treatment rescued increased intestinal inflammatory cytokine marker genes (Tnfα, IL17, Ifnγ) expression, rescued decreased intestinal barrier marker genes (claudin 3 and claudin 15) expression, and rescued increased serum cytokines (IFNγ, IL27, IL10) in SCD mice. Antibiotic significantly improved decreased bone mass in SCD mice mainly through enhanced osteoblast function and increased osteoblast-related genes (Runx2 and Igf1) expression in SCD mice. Our findings support that increased bacteria load augments antigenic load traversing the impaired intestinal barrier through inflammation, leading to increased inflammatory cytokines, impaired osteoblast function, and bone loss in SCD mice.