Microbiome Resource Center
Microbiome Resource Center
March 20, 2014
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Gut bacteria identified in early pediatric Crohn’s disease

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Patients with Crohn’s disease experienced abnormal increases and decreases in specific gut bacteria, with harmful microbes flourishing and beneficial microbes missing, according to a recent study.

Researchers at 28 gastroenterology centers across North America examined biopsies from 447 patients, aged 3 to 17 years, with new-onset Crohn’s disease (CD), and 221 controls with noninflammatory conditions. They combined the cohort with additional pediatric and adult patients for a total of 1,742 samples.

Patients with CD displayed a disrupted microbial balance, with several taxa — Pasteurellaceae(Haemophilus sp.), Veillonellaceae, Neisseriaceae and Fusobacteriaceae — correlating with the disease.

“These findings can guide the development of better diagnostics,” Ramnik J. Xavier, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said in a press release. “More importantly, our study identified specific organisms that are abnormally increased or decreased in disease, which forms a blueprint to develop microbial therapeutics.”

In area under the curve used to determine the most effective sampling methods, ileal samples (AUC=0.85) and rectal biopsies (AUC=0.78) had a narrow CI and both outperformed stool samples (AUC=0.66), which had a broader CI.

“This finding is particularly encouraging, because it creates the opportunity to use a minimally invasive approach to collecting patient samples for early disease detection,” Gevers said.

In addition to identifying the microbial imbalance, the study also indicated using antibiotics to treat symptoms of CD in children before diagnosis could be counterproductive, as it generally amplified the dysbiosis in the smaller sample of patients who were on antibiotics (n=57/478, 12%).

“We hypothesize that the use of antibiotics has the potential to impact the overall community structure and increase the potential for exposure to dysbiosis,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.