Intestinal function and transit associate with gut microbiota dysbiosis in cystic fibrosis

Ryan Marsh, Helen Gavillet, Liam Hanson, Christabella Ng, Mandisa Mitchell-Whyte, Giles Major, Alan R. Smyth, Damian Rivett, Chris van der Gast*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Most people with cystic fibrosis (pwCF) suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms and are at risk of gut complications. Gut microbiota dysbiosis is apparent within the CF population across all age groups, with evidence linking dysbiosis to intestinal inflammation and other markers of health. This pilot study aimed to investigate the potential relationships between the gut microbiota and gastrointestinal physiology, transit, and health. Study design: Faecal samples from 10 pwCF and matched controls were subject to 16S rRNA sequencing. Results were combined with clinical metadata and MRI metrics of gut function to investigate relationships. Results: pwCF had significantly reduced microbiota diversity compared to controls. Microbiota compositions were significantly different, suggesting remodelling of core and rarer satellite taxa in CF. Dissimilarity between groups was driven by a variety of taxa, including Escherichia coli, Bacteroides spp., Clostridium spp., and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. The core taxa were explained primarily by CF disease, whilst the satellite taxa were associated with pulmonary antibiotic usage, CF disease, and gut function metrics. Species-specific ordination biplots revealed relationships between taxa and the clinical or MRI-based variables observed. Conclusions: Alterations in gut function and transit resultant of CF disease are associated with the gut microbiota composition, notably the satellite taxa. Delayed transit in the small intestine might allow for the expansion of satellite taxa resulting in potential downstream consequences for core community function in the colon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number3
Early online date8 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes

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