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J Microbiol Methods. 2007 Jan;68(1):94-105. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Molecular monitoring of the intestinal flora by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Charité Mitte, Dorotheenstrasse 96, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


Gut flora analysis is hampered by the complexity of the intestinal microbiota and by inherent limitations of culture-based approaches. Therefore, culture-independent molecular methods based upon 16S rRNA gene analysis were applied successfully for the analysis of complex microbial communities. However, generally accepted and validated profiling methods such as denaturing and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE/TGGE) are still laborious and time consuming. Thus, we adapted the separation of amplified bacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) using the WAVE Microbial Analysis System as a rapid and convenient means to display complex intestinal bacterial communities and to monitor changes in the gut flora. The separation of 16S rRNA gene fragments amplified from reference strains representing main gut bacterial populations and from human stool samples revealed that DHPLC analysis effectively detects bacterial groups predominant in the human gut flora. The investigation of faecal samples from hospitalized patients before, during and after antibiotic therapy showed that PCR-based DHPLC can be used to monitor gut flora changes. Results from DHPLC analysis were comparable with DGGE profiles generated from the same samples, demonstrating that the adapted DHPLC protocol is well suited for the analysis of complex microbial communities.

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