Clinical and experimental observations in animal models indicate that intestinal commensal bacteria are involved in the initiation and amplification of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As the majority of colonic bacteria cannot be identified by culture techniques, the aim of this study was to use sequence-based methods to investigate and characterize the composition of the dominant fecal microbiota in both patients with inflammatory bowel disease and healthy subjects. Fecal microbiota was isolated and quantified using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rDNA was used to evaluate the diversity of the dominant species. Analysis of individual bacterial groups showed a greater change in the fecal microbiota of patients with IBD, especially in those with active ulcerative colitis and active Crohn's disease. DGGE demonstrated the diversity of microbial flora in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease was less than in healthy subjects. Our results provide a better understanding of changes in fecal microbiota among patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
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