Differences of microbiota in small bowel and faeces between irritable bowel syndrome patients and healthy subjects

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2016;51(4):410-9. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2015.1116107. Epub 2015 Nov 23.


Objective: Several studies suggested that colonic microbiota have impacts on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. However, the knowledge about the association of small intestine (SI) microbiota with IBS is limited. We aimed to investigate the gut microbiota composition of SI and stool in IBS patients.

Materials and methods: Biopsies of jejunum mucosa by balloon-assisted enteroscopy and faecal samples from 28 IBS patients and 19 healthy controls were analysed by next-generation sequencing method.

Results: The three major phyla in SI microbiota of case/control groups were Proteobacteria (32.8/47.7%), Bacteroidetes (25.2/15.3%), and Firmicutes (19.8/11.2%), and those of stool were Bacteroidetes (41.3/45.8%), Firmicutes (40.7/38.2%), and Proteobacteria (15.4/7.1%). Analysis based on the family level, IBS patients had a higher proportion of Veillonellaceae (mean proportion 6.49% versus 2.68%, p = 0.046) in stool than controls. Prevotellaceae was more abundant in IBS patients than in control group (14.27% versus 6.13%, p = 0.023), while Mycobacteriaceae (0.06% versus 0.17%, p = 0.024) and Neisseriaceae (6.40% versus 8.94%, p = 0.038) was less abundant in IBS patients' jejunal mucosa than those in controls. This less abundant jejunal Neisseriaceae was associated with more severe IBS (p = 0.03). The ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes in the stool of IBS-diarrhoea type patients was approximately three-fold higher, and the ratio of Firmicutes to Actinobacter in SI of IBS-mixed type patients was about nine-fold higher than healthy subjects.

Conclusion: Higher abundance of colonic Veillonellaceae and SI Prevotellaceae, and lower amount of oral cavity normal flora in proximal SI were found in IBS patients. We may manipulate these bacteria in IBS patients in future studies (ClinicalTrial.gov Number NCT01679730).

Keywords: Enteroscopy; irritable bowel syndrome; microbiota; next-generation sequencing; small bowel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Microbiota*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01679730