Micromorphometrical analysis of rodent related (SPF) and unrelated (human) gut microbial flora in germfree mice by digital image processing

D. Veenendaal, J. de Boer, D. van der Waaij, M.H.F. Wilkinson, B.C Meijer

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Digital image processing (DIP) of bacterial smears is a new method of analysing the composition of the gut microbial flora. This method provides the opportunity to compare and evaluate differences in the complex highly concentrated anaerobic fraction of gut microbial flora, based on micromorphological differences. There is ample evidence that this fraction can be characterized as related or unrelated to the host organism by its immunogenicity. In this study germfree ND2 mice were associated with either related (rodent) SPF microflora (SPF-MF) or unrelated human MF (HUM-MF). DIP analysis was performed on original SPF-MF and HUM-MF and on the faeces of ex-germfree mice 4 weeks after association. The micromorphological pattern of highly concentrated anaerobic bacteria in faeces of HUM-MF associated ex-germfree mice was significantly different from SPF-MF associated counterparts with regard to the scores for elongation (P <0.01) and morphological variety (P <0.05). Moreover, gross morphological variability was present between individual HUM-MF associated mice but not between individual SPF-MF associated animals. No differences were found between original SPF and HUM-MF. The data are discussed with regard to differences in the presence of (non-)immunogenic bacteria and the ability for related and unrelated flora to colonize the murine gut. This study provides evidence that murine host specificity of microbial flora may not only be reflected in the number of non-immunogenic bacteria but also in the micromorphological pattern of highly concentrated anaerobic bacteria in faeces measured by DIP analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalEpidemiology And Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-1996



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