Butyrate-producing bacteria (BPB) are potential probiotic candidates for inflammatory bowel diseases as they are often depleted in the diseased gut microbiota. However, here we found that augmentation of a human-derived butyrate-producing strain, Anaerostipes hadrus BPB5, significantly aggravated colitis in dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-treated mice while exerted no detrimental effect in healthy mice. We explored how the interaction between BPB5 and gut microbiota may contribute to this differential impact on the hosts. Butyrate production and severity of colitis were assessed in both healthy and DSS-treated mice, and gut microbiota structural changes were analysed using high-throughput sequencing. BPB5-inoculated healthy mice showed no signs of colitis, but increased butyrate content in the gut. In DSS-treated mice, BPB5 augmentation did not increase butyrate content, but induced significantly more severe disease activity index and much higher mortality. BPB5 didn't induce significant changes of gut microbiota in healthy hosts, but expedited the structural shifts 3 days earlier toward the disease phase in BPB5-augmented than DSS-treated animals. The differential response of gut microbiota in healthy and DSS-treated mice to the same potentially beneficial bacterium with drastically different health consequences suggest that animals with dysbiotic gut microbiota should also be employed for the safety assessment of probiotic candidates.
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