Oncotarget

Research Papers:

Alterations in the mucosa-associated fungal microbiota in patients with ulcerative colitis

Xinyun Qiu, Jingjing Ma, Chunhua Jiao, Xiaqiong Mao, Xiaojing Zhao, Meijiao Lu, Kai Wang and Hongjie Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:107577-107588. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22534

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Abstract

Xinyun Qiu1, Jingjing Ma1, Chunhua Jiao1, Xiaqiong Mao1, Xiaojing Zhao1, Meijiao Lu1, Kai Wang2 and Hongjie Zhang1

1Department of Gastroenterology, First Affliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, China

2Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

Correspondence to:

Hongjie Zhang, email: hjzhang06@163.com

Keywords: ulcerative colitis; intestinal fungi; mucosal-associated microbiota; mucosal inflammation; high-throughput sequencing

Received: June 08, 2017     Accepted: October 28, 2017     Published: November 20, 2017

ABSTRACT

Background: Fungi colonize the human gut and might play a key role in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis (UC). However, studies on the fungal composition in the gut (especially adhering to the intestinal mucosa) of UC patients is limited.

Results: The number of fungi decreased significantly in inflamed mucosa compared with that in HS mucosa. Fifteen major genera were examined, among which Wickerhamomyces, unidentified genus of Saccharomycetales, Aspergillus, Sterigmatomyces, and Candida showed increasing trends, whereas Exophiala, Alternaria, Emericella, Epicoccum, Acremonium, Trametes, and Penicillium showed decreasing trends in UC patients compared to the HS. The pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-Iβ, TNF-α, INF-γ, IL-6, IL-17A, and IL-23) were up-regulated in the UC group. The genera Wickerhamomyces, Nigrospora, and Penicillium were positively correlated, while Sporobolomyces and Trametes were negatively correlated with the expression of several colonic pro-inflammatory cytokines and the Baron and/or Mayo score.

Conclusions: Our study confirms the alteration of the colonic fungal microbiota in the UC patients, which might be associated with mucosal inflammation and pathogenesis of UC. Further studies need to identify the roles of different intestinal fungi in detail, and to determine the mechanism of the host-fungal interaction underlying the development of UC.

Methods: Mucosal samples of inflamed descending colon from 14 active UC patients and 15 healthy subjects (HS) were analyzed by high-throughput sequencing to compare the fungal microbiota. The expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-Iβ, TNF-α, INF-γ, IL-6, IL-17A, and IL-23) in intestinal mucosal tissues were examined. The Baron and Mayo scores of UC patients were evaluated, and the correlation between intestinal fungal composition and intestinal inflammatory status was analyzed.


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