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Fungal mycobiome is linked to Crohn’s disease

November 09 2016

Crohn’s disease (CD) is a relapsing inflammatory bowel disease that is driven by an abnormal immune response to gut microbial antigens, suggesting a complex interplay between host genetic factors and endogenous microbial communities. It is only recently that sequencing-based investigations of the gut microbial community have included the  fungal community (mycobiome) confirming the importance of  fungal component of the microbiome and confirmed its involvement in Candida-host interplay in CD.

The composition of the intestinal microbiota is influenced by the genetic background of the host and other factors such as diet and environmental both of which are shared within families.

In a recently published article on CD patients and their healthy relatives (NCDR) vs a control group without CD or  history of CD, significant microbial interactions were identified and validated using single-and mixed-species biofilms.
The abundance of the fungus Candida tropicalis was significantly higher in CD than in NCDR (P0.003) samples and positively correlated with levels of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA). The abundance of C. tropicalis was positively correlated with S. marcescens and E.coli, suggesting that these organisms interact in the gut.

CD and NCDR groups clustered together in the mycobiome but not in the bacteriome. Microbiotas of familial (CD and NCDR) samples were distinct from those of non-familial samples. The abundance of Serratia marcescens and Escherichia coli was elevated in CD patients, while that of beneficial bacteria was decreased.


C tropicalis on chromagar

Biofilms comprising three species ie.  C. tropicalis with S. marcescens and E. coli had a greater mass and thickness than those of single-and double-species biofilms.  Notably C. tropicalis biofilms comprised blastospores, while double and triple species biofilms were enriched in hyphae.
The results of this study indicate that the interplay between fungi and bacteria in the gut of Crohn’s disease patients may be very significant and give an insight into potential alternative treatment strategies for this condition.

Article open source access

Other links to press: Science Daily