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Human Microbiome Features Stratify Children with IBS

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 30 Apr 2019
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Image: The Qubit 4 Flurometer is designed to accurately measure DNA, RNA, and protein quantity, and now also RNA integrity and quality, using the highly sensitive Qubit assays (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific).
Image: The Qubit 4 Flurometer is designed to accurately measure DNA, RNA, and protein quantity, and now also RNA integrity and quality, using the highly sensitive Qubit assays (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disruptive gastrointestinal condition characterized by bloating, changes in bowel habits, and pain that affects up to 20% of the world's population (children and adults). Increasing evidence indicates that the onset and symptoms of IBS are related to the gut microbiome.

To improve the treatment of children with IBS, investigators have developed a sophisticated way to analyze the microbial and metabolic contents of the gut. A report describes how a new battery of tests enables scientists to distinguish patients with IBS from healthy children and identifies correlations between certain microbes and metabolites with abdominal pain.

Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX, USA) and their colleagues obtained samples from 23 preadolescent children with IBS (age 7 to 12 years) and 22 healthy controls. Participants were asked to maintain daily pain and stool diaries for two weeks and to provide stool (fecal) samples.

Stool DNA was extracted using the PowerSoil DNA Isolation kit. DNA quality and yield were evaluated via agarose gels NanoDrop 1000 and Qubit Flurometer.WGS libraries were generated using 100 bp paired libraries and the HiSeq 2000 platform.

The investigators found that there were differences in bacterial composition, bacterial genes, and fecal metabolites in children with IBS compared to healthy controls. In addition to identifying correlations of these factors with abdominal pain, they generated a highly accurate classifier using metagenomic and metabolic markers that distinguishes children with IBS from healthy controls with 80% or greater accuracy. This classifier assesses specific metabolites, types of bacteria, functional pathways, and other factors.

This microbiome-based classifier can potentially help identify subpopulations of children with IBS that are more likely to benefit from microbiome-related therapies including diet modification, while guiding others to alternative appropriate treatment plans. The investigators also provide insights into how specific microbiome-related findings may be related to abdominal pain, thus opening up potential novel treatment approaches.

James Versalovic, MD, PhD, a pathologist and co-author of the study, said, “This study highlights the importance of the microbiome-gut-brain axis and our understanding of chronic abdominal pain. Development of new disease classifiers based on microbiome data enables precision diagnostics to be developed for IBS and similar disorders. Although other studies have found differences in the gut microbiomes of patients with IBS, this study is the first to combine deep microbiome analysis with development of new diagnostic strategies.” The study was published on April 17, 2019, in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Related Links:
Baylor College of Medicine


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