Intestinal Inflammation in Children with Cystic Fibrosis Is Associated with Crohn's-Like Microbiota Disturbances

J Clin Med. 2019 May 10;8(5):645. doi: 10.3390/jcm8050645.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a systemic genetic disease that leads to pulmonary and digestive disorders. In the majority of CF patients, the intestine is the site of chronic inflammation and microbiota disturbances. The link between gut inflammation and microbiota dysbiosis is still poorly understood. The main objective of this study was to assess gut microbiota composition in CF children depending on their intestinal inflammation. We collected fecal samples from 20 children with CF. Fecal calprotectin levels were measured and fecal microbiota was analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing. We observed intestinal inflammation was associated with microbiota disturbances characterized mainly by increased abundances of Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Veillonella dispar, along with decreased abundances of Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Those changes exhibited similarities with that of Crohn's disease (CD), as evidenced by the elevated CD Microbial-Dysbiosis index that we applied for the first time in CF. Furthermore, the significant over-representation of Streptococcus in children with intestinal inflammation appears to be specific to CF and raises the issue of gut-lung axis involvement. Taken together, our results provide new arguments to link gut microbiota and intestinal inflammation in CF and suggest the key role of the gut-lung axis in the CF evolution.

Keywords: cystic fibrosis; dysbiosis index; fecal calprotectin; gut microbiota; intestinal inflammation.