Establishing the link between microbial communities in bovine liver abscesses and the gastrointestinal tract. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Liver abscesses (LAs) are one of the most common and important problems faced by the beef industry. The most efficacious method for the prevention of LAs in North America is through dietary inclusion of low doses of antimicrobial drugs such as tylosin, but the mechanisms by which this treatment prevents LAs are not fully understood. LAs are believed to result from mucosal barrier dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) allowing bacterial translocation to the liver via the portal vein, yet differences in the GIT microbiome of cattle with and without LAs have not been explored. Here, we characterized microbial communities from LAs, rumen, ileum, and colon from the same cattle for the first time. RESULTS: Results demonstrate that tylosin supplementation was associated with differences in microbial community structure in the rumen and small intestine, largely because of differences in the predominance of Clostridia. Importantly, we show for the first time that microbial communities from multiple LAs in one animal's liver are highly similar, suggesting that abscesses found at different locations in the liver may originate from a localized source in the GIT (rather than disparate locations). A large portion of abscesses were dominated by microbial taxa that were most abundant in the hindgut. Further, we identified taxa throughout the GIT that were differentially abundant between animals with and without liver abscesses. Bifidobacterium spp.-a bacteria commonly associated with a healthy GIT in several species-were more abundant in the rumen and ileum of animals without LAs compared to those with LAs. CONCLUSIONS: Together these results provide the first direct comparison of GIT and LA microbial communities within the same animal, add considerable evidence to the hypothesis that some LA microbial communities arise from the hindgut, and suggest that barrier dysfunction throughout the GIT may be the underlying cause of LA formation in cattle.

published proceedings

  • Anim Microbiome

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Pinnell, L. J., Young, J. D., Thompson, T. W., Wolfe, C. A., Bryant, T. C., Nair, M. N., Richeson, J. T., & Morley, P. S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Pinnell, Lee J||Young, J Daniel||Thompson, Tyler W||Wolfe, Cory A||Bryant, Tony C||Nair, Mahesh N||Richeson, John T||Morley, Paul S

publication date

  • November 2023