Bile Salt Hydrolase-Mediated Inhibitory Effect of Bacteroides Ovatus on Growth of Clostridium Difficile

J Microbiol. 2017 Nov;55(11):892-899. doi: 10.1007/s12275-017-7340-4. Epub 2017 Oct 27.


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is one of the most common nosocomial infections. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota due to consumption of antibiotics is a major contributor to CDI. Recently, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has been applied to treat CDI. However, FMT has important limitations including uncontrolled exposure to pathogens and standardization issues. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate alternative treatment methods, such as bacteriotherapy, as well as the mechanism through which beneficial bacteria inhibit the growth of C. difficile. Here, we report bile acid-mediated inhibition of C. difficile by Bacteroides strains which can produce bile salt hydrolase (BSH). Bacteroides strains are not commonly used to treat CDI; however, as they comprise a large proportion of the intestinal microbiota, they can contribute to bile acid-mediated inhibition of C. difficile. The inhibitory effect on C. difficile growth increased with increasing bile acid concentration in the presence of Bacteroides ovatus SNUG 40239. Furthermore, this inhibitory effect on C. difficile growth was significantly attenuated when bile acid availability was reduced by cholestyramine, a bile acid sequestrant. The findings of this study are important due to the discovery of a new bacterial strain that in the presence of available bile acids inhibits growth of C. difficile. These results will facilitate development of novel bacteriotherapy strategies to control CDI.

Keywords: Bacteroides ovatus; Clostridium difficile; bile salt hydrolase.

MeSH terms

  • Antibiosis
  • Bacteroides / enzymology*
  • Bacteroides / metabolism
  • Bile Acids and Salts / chemistry
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Bile Acids and Salts / pharmacology
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology
  • Clostridium Infections / therapy
  • Clostridium difficile / drug effects*
  • Clostridium difficile / growth & development*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases / metabolism*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Hydrolases