Antibiotic-induced shifts in the indigenous gut microbiota influence normal skeletal maturation. Current theory implies that gut microbiota actions on bone occur through a direct gut/bone signaling axis. However, our prior work supports that a gut/liver signaling axis contributes to gut microbiota effects on bone. Our purpose was to investigate the effects of minocycline, a systemic antibiotic treatment for adolescent acne, on pubertal/postpubertal skeletal maturation. Sex-matched specific pathogen–free (SPF) and germ-free (GF) C57BL/6T mice were administered a clinically relevant minocycline dose from age 6–12 weeks. Minocycline caused dysbiotic shifts in the gut bacteriome and impaired skeletal maturation in SPF mice but did not alter the skeletal phenotype in GF mice. Minocycline administration in SPF mice disrupted the intestinal farnesoid X receptor/fibroblast growth factor 15 axis, a gut/liver endocrine axis supporting systemic bile acid homeostasis. Minocycline-treated SPF mice had increased serum conjugated bile acids that were farnesoid X receptor (FXR) antagonists, suppressed osteoblast function, decreased bone mass, and impaired bone microarchitecture and fracture resistance. Stimulating osteoblasts with the serum bile acid profile from minocycline-treated SPF mice recapitulated the suppressed osteogenic phenotype found in vivo, which was mediated through attenuated FXR signaling. This work introduces bile acids as a potentially novel mediator of gut/liver signaling actions contributing to gut microbiota effects on bone.


Matthew D. Carson, Amy J. Warner, Jessica D. Hathaway-Schrader, Vincenza L. Geiser, Joseph Kim, Joy E. Gerasco, William D. Hill, John J. Lemasters, Alexander V. Alekseyenko, Yongren Wu, Hai Yao, J. Ignacio Aguirre, Caroline Westwater, Chad M. Novince


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