Longitudinal microbiome analysis of single donor fecal microbiota transplantation in patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection and/or ulcerative colitis

Michael Mintz, Shanawaj Khair, Suman Grewal, Joseph F LaComb, Jiyhe Park, Breana Channer, Ramona Rajapakse, Juan Carlos Bucobo, Jonathan M Buscaglia, Farah Monzur, Anupama Chawla, Jie Yang, Charlie E Robertson, Daniel N Frank, Ellen Li
PloS One 2018, 13 (1): e0190997

BACKGROUND: Studies of colonoscopic fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in patients with recurrent CDI, indicate that this is a very effective treatment for preventing further relapses. In order to provide this service at Stony Brook University Hospital, we initiated an open-label prospective study of single colonoscopic FMT among patients with ≥ 2 recurrences of CDI, with the intention of monitoring microbial composition in the recipient before and after FMT, as compared with their respective donor. We also initiated a concurrent open label prospective trial of single colonoscopic FMT of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) not responsive to therapy, after obtaining an IND permit (IND 15642). To characterize how FMT alters the fecal microbiota in patients with recurrent Clostridia difficile infections (CDI) and/or UC, we report the results of a pilot microbiome analysis of 11 recipients with a history of 2 or more recurrences of C. difficile infections without inflammatory bowel disease (CDI-only), 3 UC recipients with recurrent C. difficile infections (CDI + UC), and 5 UC recipients without a history of C. difficile infections (UC-only).

METHOD: V3V4 Illumina 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing was performed on the pre-FMT, 1-week post-FMT, and 3-months post-FMT recipient fecal samples along with those collected from the healthy donors. Fitted linear mixed models were used to examine the effects of Group (CDI-only, CDI + UC, UC-only), timing of FMT (Donor, pre-FMT, 1-week post-FMT, 3-months post-FMT) and first order Group*FMT interactions on the diversity and composition of fecal microbiota. Pairwise comparisons were then carried out on the recipient vs. donor and between the pre-FMT, 1-week post-FMT, and 3-months post-FMT recipient samples within each group.

RESULTS: Significant effects of FMT on overall microbiota composition (e.g., beta diversity) were observed for the CDI-only and CDI + UC groups. Marked decreases in the relative abundances of the strictly anaerobic Bacteroidetes phylum, and two Firmicutes sub-phyla associated with butyrate production (Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae) were observed between the CDI-only and CDI + UC recipient groups. There were corresponding increases in the microaerophilic Proteobacteria phylum and the Firmicutes/Bacilli group in the CDI-only and CDI + UC recipient groups. At a more granular level, significant effects of FMT were observed for 81 genus-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in at least one of the three recipient groups (p<0.00016 with Bonferroni correction). Pairwise comparisons of the estimated pre-FMT recipient/donor relative abundance ratios identified 6 Gammaproteobacteria OTUs, including the Escherichia-Shigella genus, and 2 Fusobacteria OTUs with significantly increased relative abundance in the pre-FMT samples of all three recipient groups (FDR < 0.05), however the magnitude of the fold change was much larger in the CDI-only and CDI + UC recipients than in the UC-only recipients. Depletion of butyrate producing OTUs, such as Faecalibacterium, in the CDI-only and CDI + UC recipients, were restored after FMT.

CONCLUSION: The results from this pilot study suggest that the microbial imbalances in the CDI + UC recipients more closely resemble those of the CDI-only recipients than the UC-only recipients.

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