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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012 Jan;54(1):20-7. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31822d53e5.

Horizontal distribution of the fecal microbiota in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Microbiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland.



The commensal microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. We examined the horizontal structure of the fecal microbiota in the colon in adolescents with Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis and a control group.


Fecal samples were collected in 3 fractions from patients with Crohn disease (n = 22), ulcerative colitis (n = 12), and controls (n = 24) during preparation for colonoscopy. Additionally, biopsies from colon tissue were taken. Samples were examined using a culture technique and a fluorescent in situ hybridization method. The mucin degradation assay was carried out.


Quantitative composition of the microbiota was different in the consecutive 3 fecal fractions and in the colon tissue of the study groups, but in patients from the control group, the composition of microbiota in the consecutive fractions was similar. Statistical analyses showed that the total distribution of the studied bacterial taxons in the contents in all 3 fecal fractions and in the colon tissue in the given disease group, and in the control group was characteristic for the studied patient group. Differences in species distribution among the cohorts studied were highly significant (P < 0.0001). Moreover, it was shown that in the fecal fraction I and in the colon tissue samples, there is no significant difference for any of the analyzed bacterial groups, using the culture methods or fluorescent in situ hybridization, but significant results were demonstrated in the II and III fractions for specific bacterial groups. The bacterial flora attached to the mucus layer in the UC group had significantly more degraded mucus in comparison with the control group (P = 0.045).


Distribution of the microbiota in the colon is layered, which can be called horizontal distribution of the fecal flora. Only in the ulcerative colitis group, the bacterial flora attached to the mucous layer exerts action on the mucin.

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