Here, we assessed the efficacy of a short-course multimodal therapy (enrofloxacin, azithromycin, fenbendazole, and paromomycin) to eliminate common macaque endemic pathogens (EPs) and evaluated its impact on gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota, mucosal integrity, and local and systemic inflammation in sixteen clinically healthy macaques. Treatment combined with expanded practices resulted in successful maintenance of rhesus macaques (RM) free of common EPs, with no evidence of overt microbiota diversity loss or dysbiosis and instead resulted in a more defined luminal microbiota across study subjects. Creation of a GI pathogen free (GPF) status resulted in improved colonic mucosal barrier function (histologically, reduced colonic MPO+, and reduced pan-bacterial 16s rRNA in the MLN), reduced local and systemic innate and adaptive inflammation with reduction of colonic Mx1 and pSTAT1, decreased intermediate (CD14+CD16+) and non-classical monocytes (CD14-CD16+), reduced populations of peripheral dendritic cells, Ki-67+ and CD38+ CD4+ T cells, Ki-67+IgG+, and Ki-67+IgD+ B cells indicating lower levels of background inflammation in the distal descending colon, draining mesenteric lymph nodes, and systemically in peripheral blood, spleen, and axillary lymph nodes. A more controlled rate of viral acquisition resulted when untreated and treated macaques were challenged by low dose intrarectal SIVmac239x, with an ~100 fold increase in dose required to infect 50% (AID50) of the animals receiving treatment compared to untreated controls. Reduction in and increased consistency of number of transmitted founder variants resulting from challenge seen in the proof of concept study directly correlated with post-treatment GPF animal’s improved barrier function and reduction of key target cell populations (Ki-67+ CD4+T cells) at the site of viral acquisition in the follow up study. These data demonstrate that a therapeutic and operational strategy can successfully eliminate varying background levels of EPs and their associated aberrant immunomodulatory effects within a captive macaque cohort, leading to a more consistent, better defined and reproducible research model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology