ZIP8-Mediated Intestinal Dysbiosis Impairs Pulmonary Host Defense against Bacterial Pneumonia

Derrick R. Samuelson, Deandra R. Smith, Kelly C. Cunningham, Todd A. Wyatt, Sannette C. Hall, Daryl J. Murry, Yashpal S. Chhonker, Daren L. Knoell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Pneumococcal pneumonia is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. An increased susceptibility is due, in part, to compromised immune function. Zinc is required for proper immune function, and an insufficient dietary intake increases the risk of pneumonia. Our group was the first to reveal that the Zn transporter, ZIP8, is required for host defense. Furthermore, the gut microbiota that is essential for lung immunity is adversely impacted by a commonly occurring defective ZIP8 allele in humans. Taken together, we hypothesized that loss of the ZIP8 function would lead to intestinal dysbiosis and impaired host defense against pneumonia. To test this, we utilized a novel myeloid-specific Zip8KO mouse model in our studies. The comparison of the cecal microbial composition of wild-type and Zip8KO mice revealed significant differences in microbial community structure. Most strikingly, upon a S. pneumoniae lung infection, mice recolonized with Zip8KO-derived microbiota exhibited an increase in weight loss, bacterial dissemination, and lung inflammation compared to mice recolonized with WT microbiota. For the first time, we reveal the critical role of myeloid-specific ZIP8 on the maintenance of the gut microbiome structure, and that loss of ZIP8 leads to intestinal dysbiosis and impaired host defense in the lung. Given the high incidence of dietary Zn deficiency and the ZIP8 variant allele in the human population, additional investigation is warranted to improve surveillance and treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1022
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Gut-lung axis
  • Host defense
  • Microbiome
  • Pneumonia
  • Zinc
  • Zinc transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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