The underlying microbial mechanism of epizootic rabbit enteropathy triggered by a low fiber diet

Epizootic rabbit enteropathy (ERE) is reproduced successfully in the present study by feeding rabbits a low-fibre diet, and high-throughput sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis were applied to examine the microbial variations in the stomach, small intestine and caecum. The evenness was disturbed and the richness was decreased in the ERE groups. When the rabbits were suffering from ERE, the abundance of the Firmicutes was decreased in three parts of the digestive tract, whereas the Proteobacteria was increased in the stomach and caecum, the Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia were increased in the small intestine. Correlation analysis showed that the reduced concentrations of TVFA and butyrate in the caeca of the ERE group were attributed to the decreased abundances of genera such as Lactobacillus, Alistipes and other fibrolytic bacteria and butyrate- producing bacteria such as Eubacterium and Faecalibacterium. It is concluded that, in terms of microorganisms, the overgrowth of Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium perfringen, Enterobacter sakazakii and Akkermansia muciniphila and inhibition of Bifidobacterium spp. and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens in the stomach, small intestine and caecum resulted in a decrease in butyrate yield, leading to the incidence of ERE, and the probability of developing ERE could be manipulated by adjusting the dietary fibre level.
Publication history: Accepted - 24 July 2018; Published online - 21 August 2018.
in, D. X., Zou, H. W., Liu, S. Q., Wang, L. Z., Xue, B., Wu, D., Tian, G., Cai, J., Yan, T. H., Wang, Z. S. and Peng, Q. H. (2018) ‘The underlying microbial mechanism of epizootic rabbit enteropathy triggered by a low fiber diet’, Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30178-2.