Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common functional gastrointestinal disorder, is classified according to bowel habits as IBS with constipation (IBS-C), with diarrhea (IBS-D), with alternating constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M), and unsubtyped (IBS-U). The mechanisms leading to the different IBS forms are mostly unknown. This study aims to evaluate whether specific fecal bacterial taxa and/or short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) can be used to distinguish IBS subtypes and are relevant for explaining the clinical differences between IBS subcategories. We characterized five fecal samples collected at 4-weeks intervals from 40 IBS patients by 16S rRNA gene profiling and SCFA quantification. Finally, we investigated the potential correlations in IBS subtypes between the fecal microbial signatures and host physiological and clinical parameters. We found significant differences in the distribution of Clostridiales OTUs among IBS subtypes and reduced levels of SCFAs in IBS-C compared to IBS-U and IBS-D patients. Correlation analyses showed that the diverse representation of Clostridiales OTUs between IBS subtypes was associated with altered levels of SCFAs; furthermore, the same OTUs and SCFAs were associated with the fecal cytokine levels and stool consistency. Our results suggest that intestinal Clostridiales and SCFAs might serve as potential mechanistic biomarkers of IBS subtypes and represent therapeutic targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics