Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp 1890–1899 | Cite as

Fecal and Mucosa-Associated Intestinal Microbiota in Patients with Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Nitsan Maharshak
  • Yehuda RingelEmail author
  • David Katibian
  • Ashley Lundqvist
  • R. Balfour Sartor
  • Ian M. Carroll
  • Tamar Ringel-Kulka
Original Article



Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been associated with changes in the intestinal microbiota. Only a few studies have explored differences in the mucosa-associated microbiota between IBS patients and healthy controls (HC).


To characterize and compare the microbiota in mucosal and fecal samples from carefully selected patients with IBS-D and HC.


The cohort was composed of 23 diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) patients and 24 HC. Fresh stool samples were collected from participants prior to the collection of colonic mucosal samples from an unprepped bowel. After DNA extraction, 16S rRNA genes were sequenced by 454 pyrosequencing and analyzed using the QIIME pipeline.


The fecal microbiota (luminal niche) of IBS-D patients was found to have reduced enteric richness compared to HC (P < 0.05), whereas no differences were observed between the two groups within the mucosal microbiota. Within the luminal niche, the relative proportions of Faecalibacterium genus were found to be lower in IBS-D than in HC and the Dorea genus was higher in IBS-D. None of the taxa proportions were significantly different in IBS-D patients versus HC using an FDR of ≤ 0.1 when analyzing samples that appeared in > 25% samples of either niche.


Fecal and mucosal microbiota of IBS-D patients and HC are very similar and are not sufficient to explain the reported altered physiology and symptomatology of IBS-D. Future studies should investigate intestinal microbiome-dependent functional activity in addition to the fecal and mucosal-associated microbial composition.


Fecal microbiota Mucosal microbiota Microbiome Irritable bowel syndrome Diarrhea 



This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-K23 DK075621 (YR).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors report conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nitsan Maharshak
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yehuda Ringel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David Katibian
    • 3
  • Ashley Lundqvist
    • 1
  • R. Balfour Sartor
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ian M. Carroll
    • 1
  • Tamar Ringel-Kulka
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and DiseaseUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyMeir Medical Center, Affiliated with Tel Aviv UniversityKfar SabaIsrael
  3. 3.Bacteriotherapy Clinic, Department of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Tel Aviv Medical Center Affiliated with the Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  4. 4.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and DiseaseUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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