Crohn's disease (CD) is characterized by compromised immune tolerance to the intestinal commensal microbiota, intestinal barrier inflammation, and hyperplasia of creeping fat (CF) and mesenteric adipose tissue (AT), which seems to be directly related to disease activity. Gut microbiota dysbiosis might be a determining factor in CD etiology, manifesting as a low microbial diversity and a high abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria. We tested the hypothesis that CF is a reservoir of bacteria through 16S-rRNA sequencing of several AT depots of patients with active and inactive disease and controls. We found a microbiome signature within CF and mesenteric AT from patients, but not in subcutaneous fat. We failed to detect bacterial DNA in any fat depot of controls. Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum in both CF and mesenteric AT, and positively correlated with fecal calprotectin/C-reactive protein. Notably, the clinical status of patients seemed to be related to the microbiome signature, as those with the inactive disease showed a reduction in the abundance of pathogenic bacteria. Predictive functional profiling revealed many metabolic pathways including lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis and sulfur metabolism overrepresented in active CD relative to that in inactive CD. Our findings demonstrate that microbiota dysbiosis associated with CD pathophysiology is reflected in AT and might contribute to disease severity.
Keywords: 16S sequencing; Escherichia coli; Fusobacterium; PICRUSt analysis; creeping fat; inflammatory bowel disease; lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis; tissue microbiota.