Ectopic colonization of oral bacteria in the intestine drives T1 cell induction and inflammation

Koji Atarashi, Wataru Suda, Chengwei Luo, Takaaki Kawaguchi, Iori Motoo, Seiko Narushima, Yuya Kiguchi, Keiko Yasuma, Eiichiro Watanabe, Takeshi Tanoue, Christoph A Thaiss, Mayuko Sato, Kiminori Toyooka, Heba S Said, Hirokazu Yamagami, Scott A Rice, Dirk Gevers, Ryan C Johnson, Julia A Segre, Kong ChenJay K Kolls, Eran Elinav, Hidetoshi Morita, Ramnik J Xavier, Masahira Hattori, Kenya Honda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

541 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal colonization by bacteria of oral origin has been correlated with several negative health outcomes, including inflammatory bowel disease. However, a causal role of oral bacteria ectopically colonizing the intestine remains unclear. Using gnotobiotic techniques, we show that strains of Klebsiella spp. isolated from the salivary microbiota are strong inducers of T helper 1 (TH1) cells when they colonize in the gut. These Klebsiella strains are resistant to multiple antibiotics, tend to colonize when the intestinal microbiota is dysbiotic, and elicit a severe gut inflammation in the context of a genetically susceptible host. Our findings suggest that the oral cavity may serve as a reservoir for potential intestinal pathobionts that can exacerbate intestinal disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
Issue number6361
Publication statusPublished - Oct 20 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Dysbiosis/immunology
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/immunology
  • Intestines/immunology
  • Klebsiella/drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbiota/immunology
  • Mouth/microbiology
  • Saliva/microbiology
  • Th1 Cells/immunology


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