Epithelial Dual Oxidase 2 Shapes the Mucosal Microbiome and Contributes to Inflammatory Susceptibility.


Juan Camilo Castrillón-Betancur, Víctor Alonso López-Agudelo, Nina Sommer, Sven Cleeves, Joana Pimenta Bernardes, Saskia Weber-Stiehl, Philip Rosenstiel, Felix Sommer

Year of publication



Antioxidants (Basel)







Impact factor



Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are highly reactive molecules formed from diatomic oxygen. They act as cellular signals, exert antibiotic activity towards invading microorganisms, but can also damage host cells. Dual oxidase 2 (DUOX2) is the main ROS-producing enzyme in the intestine, regulated by cues of the commensal microbiota and functions in pathogen defense. DUOX2 plays multiple roles in different organs and cell types, complicating the functional analysis using systemic deletion models. Here, we interrogate the precise role of epithelial DUOX2 for intestinal homeostasis and host-microbiome interactions. Conditional Duox2∆IEC mice lacking DUOX2, specifically in intestinal epithelial cells, were generated, and their intestinal mucosal immune phenotype and microbiome were analyzed. Inflammatory susceptibility was evaluated by challenging Duox2∆IEC mice in the dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) colitis model. DUOX2-microbiome interactions in humans were investigated by paired analyses of mucosal DUOX2 expression and fecal microbiome data in patients with intestinal inflammation. Under unchallenged conditions, we did not observe any obvious phenotype of Duox2∆IEC mice, although intestinal epithelial ROS production was drastically decreased, and the mucosal microbiome composition was altered. When challenged with DSS, Duox2∆IEC mice were protected from colitis, possibly by inhibiting ROS-mediated damage and fostering epithelial regenerative responses. Finally, in patients with intestinal inflammation, DUOX2 expression was increased in inflamed tissue, and high DUOX2 levels were linked to a dysbiotic microbiome. Our findings demonstrate that bidirectional DUOX2-microbiome interactions contribute to mucosal homeostasis, and their dysregulation may drive disease development, thus highlighting this axis as a therapeutic target to treat intestinal inflammation.