Individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have an Altered Gut Microbiome Composition of Fungi and Protozoa

Gina L. Guzzo*, Murthy N. Mittinty, Bastien Llamas, Jane M. Andrews, Laura S. Weyrich*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    It is known that the bacterial gut microbiome is altered in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but far less is known about the role of eukaryotic microorganisms in IBD. While eukaryotes are rarer than bacteria within the gastrointestinal environment, the current literature suggests that they may also be implicated in IBD. In our study, we characterized these often-neglected eukaryotic microbial communities by identifying fungi and protozoa in published shotgun stool metagenomes from 355 people with IBD (206 with Crohn’s disease, 126 with ulcerative colitis, and 23 with IBD-unclassified) and 471 unaffected healthy individuals. The individuals with IBD had a higher prevalence of fungi, particularly Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and a lower prevalence of protozoa, particularly Blastocystis species (subtypes 1, 2, 3, and 4). Regression analysis showed that disease state, age, and BMI were associated with the prevalence and abundance of these two genera. We also characterized the eukaryotic gut microbiome in a shotgun stool metagenomic dataset from people with IBD who received fecal transplants, with samples pre- and post-transplantation, and from their donors. We found that in some FMT recipients, a single eukaryotic species remained stable over time, while in other recipients, the eukaryotic composition varied. We conclude that the eukaryotic gut microbiome is altered and varies over time in IBD, and future studies should aim to include these microbes when characterizing the gut microbiome in IBD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1910
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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