Lactoferrin can modulate both the host immunity and gut microbiota. However, whether the immune modulation requires the gut microbiota has not been directly shown. Thus, our study compared (1) lactoferrin-driven immunomodulation profiles and (2) changes in fecal phylogenic metagenome with and without antibiotics-induced dysbiosis in rats. Rats receiving only lactoferrin but not both lactoferrin and antibiotics had a Th-1 type cytokine serum profile. Significant differences were detected between the fecal microbiota of the lactoferrin and control groups at day 19 and/or day 33 but not initially, with a shift in the major contributors for community dissimilarity to Clostridium, Lactobacillus, and Oscillibacter valericigenes. The antibiotics-induced dysbiosis enriched the proinflammatory phyla, Proteobacteria and Deferribacteres, together with the anti-inflammatory species, Akkermansia muciniphila, while suppressed some butyrate-producers from the Firmicutes phylum. Our study shows that an intact microbiota is necessary for lactoferrin-driven immunomodulation.
Journal: Journal of functional foods