Loss of HDAC6 alters gut microbiota and worsens obesity

Arnon D. Lieber, Ulf H. Beier, Haiyan Xiao, Benjamin J. Wilkins, Jing Jiao, Xinmin S. Li, Rebecca C. Schugar, Christopher M. Strauch, Zeneng Wang, J. Mark Brown, Stanley L. Hazen, Nicholas A. Bokulich, Kelly V. Ruggles, Tatiana Akimova, Wayne W. Hancock, Martin J. Blaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Alterations in gut microbiota are known to affect intestinal inflammation and obesity. Antibiotic treatment can affect weight gain by elimination of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor-producing microbes, which are anti-inflammatory by augmenting regulatory T (Treg) cells. We asked whether mice that lack HDAC6 and have potent suppressive Treg cells are protected from microbiota-induced accelerated weight gain. We crossed wild-type and HDAC6-deficient mice and subjected the offspring to perinatal penicillin, inducing weight gain via microbiota disturbance. We observed that male HDAC6-deficient mice were not protected and developed profoundly accelerated weight gain. The antibiotic-exposed HDAC6-deficient mice showed a mixed immune phenotype with increased CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell activation yet maintained the enhanced Treg cell-suppressive function phenotype characteristic of HDAC6-deficient mice. 16S rRNA sequencing of mouse fecal samples reveals that their microbiota diverged with time, with HDAC6 deletion altering microbiome composition. On a high-fat diet, HDAC6-deficient mice were depleted in representatives of the S24-7 family and Lactobacillus but enriched with Bacteroides and Parabacteroides; these changes are associated with obesity. Our findings further our understanding of the influence of HDACs on microbiome composition and are important for the development of HDAC6 inhibitors in the treatment of human diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1109
Number of pages12
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


  • HDAC
  • Inflammation
  • Microbiome
  • T-regulatory cells


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