The gut microbiota and metabolome are associated with diminished COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody responses in immunosuppressed inflammatory bowel disease patients
Full article – The gut microbiota and metabolome are associated with diminished COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody responses in immunosuppressed inflammatory bowel disease patients – eBioMedicine (thelancet.com)
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treated with anti-TNF therapy exhibit attenuated humoral immune responses to vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. The gut microbiota and its functional metabolic output, which are perturbed in IBD, play an important role in shaping host immune responses. We explored whether the gut microbiota and metabolome could explain variation in anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination responses in immunosuppressed IBD patients.
Faecal and serum samples were prospectively collected from infliximab-treated patients with IBD in the CLARITY-IBD study undergoing vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. Antibody responses were measured following two doses of either ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 vaccine. Patients were classified as having responses above or below the geometric mean of the wider CLARITY-IBD cohort. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and bile acid profiling with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS) were performed on faecal samples. Univariate, multivariable and correlation analyses were performed to determine gut microbial and metabolomic predictors of response to vaccination.
Forty-three infliximab-treated patients with IBD were recruited (30 Crohn’s disease, 12 ulcerative colitis, 1 IBD-unclassified; 26 with concomitant thiopurine therapy). Eight patients had evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Seventeen patients (39.5%) had a serological response below the geometric mean. Gut microbiota diversity was lower in below average responders (p = 0.037). Bilophila abundance was associated with better serological response, while Streptococcus was associated with poorer response. The faecal metabolome was distinct between above and below average responders (OPLS-DA R2X 0.25, R2Y 0.26, Q2 0.15; CV-ANOVA p = 0.038). Trimethylamine, isobutyrate and omega-muricholic acid were associated with better response, while succinate, phenylalanine, taurolithocholate and taurodeoxycholate were associated with poorer response.
Our data suggest that there is an association between the gut microbiota and variable serological response to vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in immunocompromised patients. Microbial metabolites including trimethylamine may be important in mitigating anti-TNF-induced attenuation of the immune response.