Gut Dysbiosis in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 18;10(12):e0145274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145274. eCollection 2015.

Abstract

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychological illness with devastating physical consequences; however, its pathophysiological mechanism remains unclear. Because numerous reports have indicated the importance of gut microbiota in the regulation of weight gain, it is reasonable to speculate that AN patients might have a microbial imbalance, i.e. dysbiosis, in their gut. In this study, we compared the fecal microbiota of female patients with AN (n = 25), including restrictive (ANR, n = 14) and binge-eating (ANBP, n = 11) subtypes, with those of age-matched healthy female controls (n = 21) using the Yakult Intestinal Flora-SCAN based on 16S or 23S rRNA-targeted RT-quantitative PCR technology. AN patients had significantly lower amounts of total bacteria and obligate anaerobes including those from the Clostridium coccoides group, Clostridium leptum subgroup, and Bacteroides fragilis group than the age-matched healthy women. Lower numbers of Streptococcus were also found in the AN group than in the control group. In the analysis based on AN subtypes, the counts of the Bacteroides fragilis group in the ANR and ANBP groups and the counts of the Clostridium coccoides group in the ANR group were significantly lower than those in the control group. The detection rate of the Lactobacillus plantarum subgroup was significantly lower in the AN group than in the control group. The AN group had significantly lower acetic and propionic acid concentrations in the feces than the control group. Moreover, the subtype analysis showed that the fecal concentrations of acetic acid were lower in the ANR group than in the control group. Principal component analysis confirmed a clear difference in the bacterial components between the AN patients and healthy women. Collectively, these results clearly indicate the existence of dysbiosis in the gut of AN patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / microbiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dysbiosis / etiology*
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was partially supported by Grants-in-Aid for General Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology in Japan (22659144, https://kaken.nii.ac.jp/d/p/22659144.ja.html; 25293167, https://kaken.nii.ac.jp/d/p/25293167.ja.html: NS). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.