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MBio. 2012 Oct 23;3(5). pii: e00338-12. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00338-12.

Toward an understanding of changes in diversity associated with fecal microbiome transplantation based on 16S rRNA gene deep sequencing.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Fecal microbiome transplantation by low-volume enema is an effective, safe, and inexpensive alternative to antibiotic therapy for patients with chronic relapsing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). We explored the microbial diversity of pre- and posttransplant stool specimens from CDI patients (n = 6) using deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. While interindividual variability in microbiota change occurs with fecal transplantation and vancomycin exposure, in this pilot study we note that clinical cure of CDI is associated with an increase in diversity and richness. Genus- and species-level analysis may reveal a cocktail of microorganisms or products thereof that will ultimately be used as a probiotic to treat CDI. IMPORTANCE Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) due to Clostridium difficile is a widespread phenomenon in hospitals today. Despite the use of antibiotics, up to 30% of patients are unable to clear the infection and suffer recurrent bouts of diarrheal disease. As a result, clinicians have resorted to fecal microbiome transplantation (FT). Donor stool for this type of therapy is typically obtained from a spouse or close relative and thoroughly tested for various pathogenic microorganisms prior to infusion. Anecdotal reports suggest a very high success rate of FT in patients who fail antibiotic treatment (>90%). We used deep-sequencing technology to explore the human microbial diversity in patients with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) disease after FT. Genus- and species-level analysis revealed a cocktail of microorganisms in the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes phyla that may ultimately be used as a probiotic to treat CDI.

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