Distribution and phylogenetic analysis of Blastocystis sp. subtypes isolated from IBD patients and healthy individuals in Iran
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Blastocystis is a single-celled intestinal parasite commonly found in humans and a broad range of animals all over the world. In humans, its role in health and disease remains unsettled. The aim of our study was to investigate the distribution of Blastocystis and Blastocystis subtypes (ST) in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and control subjects. A total of 71 stool samples were collected from IBD patients, 69 and 2 of whom had ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD), respectively. Moreover, 166 stool samples from healthy subjects were included as control samples. All stool samples were cultivated, and 550-bp fragments of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene was amplified from Blastocystis-positive cultures. All PCR-positive samples were sequenced. Blastocystis was observed in 9 (12.67%) and 35 (21.1%) IBD patients and healthy controls, respectively. There was no statistically significant correlation between IBD and presence of Blastocystis (P = 0.147). There was a statistically significant correlation between age and Blastocystis colonization in the IBD group (P < 0.05), but not among healthy controls. No significant correlation between gender and colonization was observed. ST1 and ST3 were obtained from 1 (12.5%) and 7 (87.5%) IBD patients, respectively, while in the healthy control group, subtypes 1, 2, and 3 were found in 14 (40%), 12 (34.28%), and 9 (25.72%), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed no variation in the distribution of subtypes nor intra-subtype genetic diversity between samples acquired from IBD patients and healthy controls. This study showed a trend towards a lower prevalence of Blastocystis in IBD patients than in control subjects. ST3 sequences isolated from IBD patients and control individuals did not appear to differ genetically.
The authors would like to thank all of the colleagues of the Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases Research Center and Gastroenterology and Liver diseases Research Institute for their laboratory cooperation.
Compliance with ethical standards
This project was financially supported by the Research Institute for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran with grant number: RIGLD 832.
The present study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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