Analysis of fecal microbiota in patients with functional constipation undergoing treatment with synbiotics

  • Lin Sheng Huang
  • Cheng Kong
  • Ren Yuan Gao
  • Xuebing Yan
  • Hong Jing Yu
  • Bin Wen
  • Qi Zhu
  • Tong Yi ShenEmail author
  • Zhen Liang SunEmail author
  • Huan Long QinEmail author
Original Article


This study was performed to identify changes to microbial composition after treatment with synbiotics in patients with functional constipation and to define the key microbiota in the pathogenesis of functional constipation. Fecal samples from 53 patients diagnosed with chronic functional constipation according to the Rome III criteria were analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing. After treatment with synbiotics for 1 month, fecal samples were collected from 36 patients; after a total of 3 months, fecal samples were collected from 15 patients. The outcomes were compared with the intestinal microbiota profiles of 53 healthy community volunteers. The microbiota in the constipation group differed from that in the treatment group and healthy group. After synbiotic treatment for 1 and 3 months, the abundance of Escherichia/Shigella decreased, whereas that of Prevotella_9 and Lactococcus increased. Comparison of the microbiota among the three groups showed that Prevotella_9 was the characteristic bacteria that decreased in the constipation group and increased in the treatment group. Synbiotic treatment can improve the microbiota in patients with constipation. Identification of the key bacterial genus is important to reveal the mechanism and provide a reliable theoretical basis of synbiotic treatment. It will also promote relevant research of microbiota treatment and individualized treatments.



We thank Majorbio Biological Technology Co., Ltd. for providing technical assistance in this study. We also thank Angela Morben, DVM, ELS, from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Group China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript.

Author contributions

LH composed the manuscript; RG, CK, and HY collected the clinical data; BW and QZ provided the samples; ZS and XY analyzed the data; TS and HQ designed and supervised the study.


This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 81,230,057, 81,200,264, 81,372,615, and 81,472,262), the Emerging Cutting-Edge Technology Joint Research Projects of Shanghai (no. SHDC12012106), and the Tongji University Subject Pilot Program (no. 162385).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the ethics committee of Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital (approval no. SHSY-IEC-3.0/16–53/01).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryShanghai Tenth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Tongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Sine Pharmaceutical Laboratories Co, LtdShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryShanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s HospitalShanghaiChina

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