2023 journal article
Gallbladder microbiota in healthy dogs and dogs with mucocele formation
PLOS ONE, 18(2).
To date studies have not investigated the culture-independent microbiome of bile from dogs, a species where aseptic collection of bile under ultrasound guidance is somewhat routine. Despite frequent collection of bile for culture-based diagnosis of bacterial cholecystitis, it is unknown whether bile from healthy dogs harbors uncultivable bacteria or a core microbiota. The answer to this question is critical to understanding the pathogenesis of biliary infection and as a baseline to exploration of other biliary diseases in dogs where uncultivable bacteria could play a pathogenic role. A pressing example of such a disease would be gallbladder mucocele formation in dogs. This prevalent and deadly condition is characterized by excessive secretion of abnormal mucus by the gallbladder epithelium that can eventually lead to rupture of the gallbladder or obstruction of bile flow. The cause of mucocele formation is unknown as is whether uncultivable, and therefore unrecognized, bacteria play any systematic role in pathogenesis. In this study we applied next-generation 16S rRNA gene sequencing to identify the culture-negative bacterial community of gallbladder bile from healthy dogs and gallbladder mucus from dogs with mucocele formation. Integral to our study was the use of 2 separate DNA isolations on each sample using different extraction methods and sequencing of negative control samples enabling recognition and curation of contaminating sequences. Microbiota findings were validated by simultaneous culture-based identification, cytological examination of bile, and fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) performed on gallbladder mucosa. Using culture-dependent, cytological, FISH, and 16S rRNA sequencing approaches, results of our study do not support existence of a core microbiome in the bile of healthy dogs or gallbladder mucus from dogs with mucocele formation. Our findings further document how contaminating sequences can significantly contribute to the results of sequencing analysis when performed on samples with low bacterial biomass.