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Second Department


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Communications Biology


The intestinal microbiota generates many different metabolites which are critical for the regulation of host signaling pathways. In fact, a wide-range of diseases are associated with increased levels of local or systemic microbe-derived metabolites. In contrast, certain bacterial metabolites, such as tryptophan metabolites, are known to contribute to both local and systemic homeostasis. Chronic alcohol consumption is accompanied by alterations to intestinal microbial communities, and their functional capacities. However, little is known about the role of alcohol-associated dysbiosis on host defense against bacterial pneumonia. Our previous work using fecal transplantation demonstrated that alcohol-associated intestinal dysbiosis, independent of ethanol consumption, increased susceptibility to Klebsiella pneumonia. Here, we demonstrate that intestinal microbiota treatments mitigate the increased risk of alcohol-associated pneumonia. Treatment with the microbial metabolite indole or with probiotics reduced pulmonary and extrapulmonary bacterial burden, restored immune responses, and improved cellular trafficking required for host defense. Protective effects were, in part, mediated by aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR), as inhibition of AhR diminished the protective effects. Thus, alcohol appears to impair the production/processing of tryptophan catabolites resulting in immune dysregulation and impaired cellular trafficking. These data support microbiota therapeutics as novel strategies to mitigate the increased risk for alcohol-associated bacterial pneumonia.

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Nature Research

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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