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

*Corresponding author for this work

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
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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


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