Microbiota composition modulates inflammation and neointimal hyperplasia after arterial angioplasty

Cori A. Cason, Thomas M. Kuntz, Edmund B. Chen, Kelly Wun, Michael J. Nooromid, Liqun Xiong, Neil R. Gottel, Katharine G. Harris, Timothy C. Morton, Michael J. Avram, Eugene B. Chang, Jack A. Gilbert, Karen J. Ho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Neointimal hyperplasia is a major contributor to restenosis after arterial interventions, but the genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying the variable propensity for neointimal hyperplasia between individuals, including the role of commensal microbiota, are not well understood. We sought to characterize how shifting the microbiome using cage sharing and bedding mixing between rats with differing restenosis phenotypes after carotid artery balloon angioplasty could alter arterial remodeling. Methods: We co-housed and mixed bedding between genetically distinct rats (Lewis [LE] and Sprague-Dawley [SD]) that harbor different commensal microbes and that are known to have different neointimal hyperplasia responses to carotid artery balloon angioplasty. Sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene was used to monitor changes in the gut microbiome. Results: There were significant differences in neointimal hyperplasia between non-co-housed LE and SD rats 14 days after carotid artery angioplasty (mean intima + media [I + M] area, 0.117 ± 0.014 mm2 LE vs 0.275 ± 0.021 mm2 SD; P < .001) that were diminished by co-housing. Co-housing also altered local adventitial Ki67 immunoreactivity, local accumulation of leukocytes and macrophages (total and M2), and interleukin 17A concentration 3 days after surgery in each strain. Non-co-housed SD and LE rats had microbiomes distinguished by both weighted (P = .012) and unweighted (P < .001) UniFrac beta diversity distances, although without significant differences in alpha diversity. The difference in unweighted beta diversity between the fecal microbiota of SD and LE rats was significantly reduced by co-housing. Operational taxonomic units that significantly correlated with average I + M area include Parabacteroides distasonis, Desulfovibrio, Methanosphaera, Peptococcus, and Prevotella. Finally, serum concentrations of microbe-derived metabolites hydroxyanthranilic acid and kynurenine/tryptophan ratio were significantly associated with I + M area in both rat strains independent of co-housing. Conclusions: We describe a novel mechanism for how microbiome manipulations affect arterial remodeling and the inflammatory response after arterial injury. A greater understanding of the host inflammatory-microbe axis could uncover novel therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of restenosis. Clinical Relevance: Neointimal hyperplasia as a cause of arterial restenosis after vascular interventions such as balloon angioplasty, stenting, and bypass surgery is a highly prevalent problem. Our goal is to ascertain the role of gut microbiota in mediating inflammatory and cell proliferative pathways that drive neointimal hyperplasia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the exchange of microbes between rats with differing neointimal hyperplasia phenotypes and distinct intestinal microbiota could alter the arterial remodeling phenotype after angioplasty. Our observations provide a starting point for focused microbiota-related interventions to prevent or to treat neointimal hyperplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1389.e3
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Microbial community composition
  • Microbiota
  • Vascular surgical procedure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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