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Improving fecal microbiota transplantation in horses

Grant number: 19/09011-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Clinics and Surgery
Principal Investigator:Juliana Regina Peiró
Grantee:Maitê Dias Gomes de Almeida
Supervisor: Marcio Carvalho da Costa
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária (FMVA). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araçatuba. Araçatuba , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université de Montréal à Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:18/17028-9 - Serum concentrations of cytokines in Quarter Horses submitted to high intensity and short duration exercise, BP.IC


Fecal transplantation has saved thousands of lives in other species, but the method needs to be refined before it can be used to treat horses with intestinal flora imbalances (e.g. colic and colitis). The intestinal flora, also called microbiota, is comprised by thousands of microorganisms, especially bacteria. It is now known that the intestinal bacteria are very important to maintain health and that several diseases can occur because of imbalances on the composition of these bacteria (called dysbiosis). Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract are the main cause of mortality in horses and bacterial imbalances have been demonstrated in horses with colitis, colic and under stressful situations (e.g. post-partum and shipping). Recent efforts have focused on manipulation of the intestinal bacteria to treat and prevent dysbiosis. Microbiota manipulation can be achieved by controlling diet, by using therapies such as antibiotics and probiotics, or by transferring the bacteria from a healthy individual to a patient. This procedure is called "fecal microbiota transplantation" (FMT). FMT has been used with great success to treat other species, but our preliminary data demonstrated that current recommendations are not efficient in horses. Therefore, a refinement of the method is necessary before FMT can be recommended to be used in horses. In this study, we propose to test new doses to successfully use FMT to restore the normal intestinal bacteria of horses with bacterial imbalance. We will also bypass the proximal portions of the intestine by injecting the microbiota directly into the large colon to try to increase FMT efficacy. Experimental Design: We propose to induce microbiota imbalance in a group of horses by treating them with oral antibiotics (TMS). Then we will evaluate the efficiency of FMT by comparing current recommendations (FMT once a day) with a group receiving the procedure four times per day. Fecal bacteria before and after FMT will be evaluated using next generation DNA sequencing. Furthermore, we will inject FMT directly into the distal gut to try to increase efficacy of FMT. (AU)

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