Gut microbial changes in diabetic db/db mice and recovery of microbial diversity upon pirfenidone treatment

Harinder Singh, Satoshi Miyamoto, Manjula Darshi, Manolito G. Torralba, Keehwan Kwon, Kumar Sharma, Rembert Pieper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The leptin receptor-deficient db/db mouse model is an accepted in vivo model to study obesity, type 2 diabetes, and diabetic kidney disease. Healthy gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota has been linked to weight loss, improved glycemic control, and physiological benefits. We investigated the effect of various drugs on the GI microbiota of db/db mice as compared to control db/m mice. Treatment with long-acting pirfenidone (PFD) increased gut microbial diversity in diabetic db/db mice. Firmicutes, the most abundant phylum in db/m mice, decreased significantly in abundance in db/db mice but showed increased abundance with long-acting PFD treatment. Several bacterial taxa, including Lactobacillus and some Bacteroides, were less abundant in db/db mice and more abundant in long-acting-PFD-treated db/db mice. Long-acting PFD treatment reduced the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila (5%) as compared to db/db mice (~15%). We conclude that gut microbial dysbiosis observed in db/db mice was partially reversed by long-acting PFD treatment and hypothesize that PFD has beneficial effects, in part, via its influence on the gut microbial metabolite profile. In quantitatively assessing urine metabolites, we observed a high abundance of diabetic ketoacidosis biomarkers, including 3-hydroxybutyric acid and acetoacetic acid in db/db mice, which were less abundant in the long-acting-PFD-treated db/db mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1347
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholecystokinin
  • Db/db mouse model
  • Diabetic complications
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Gut microbiome
  • Kidney metabolism
  • Metagenomics
  • Pirfenidone
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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