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Clostridium leptum group bacteria abundance and diversity in the fecal microbiota of patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a case–control study in India

Jayakanthan Kabeerdoss, Vijayalakshmi Sankaran, Srinivasan Pugazhendhi and Balakrishnan S Ramakrishna*

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The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 632004, India

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Citation and License

BMC Gastroenterology 2013, 13:20  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-20

Published: 26 January 2013



Alterations in the fecal bacterial flora occur in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We examined the abundance and diversity of Clostridium leptum group, an important group of carbohydrate-fermenting bacteria, in the feces of patients with IBD and compared them with healthy controls.


Seventeen healthy controls (HC), 20 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 22 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) participated in the study. DNA extracted from fecal samples was amplified by PCR targeting 16S rRNA gene sequences specific to C. leptum group. The PCR product was subjected to temporal temperature gradient electrophoresis (TTGE) and the number and position of individual bands were noted and diversity was estimated. The identity of bands at different positions was confirmed by cloning and sequencing. Real time quantitative PCR with Mesa Green, targeted at specific 16S rRNA gene sequences, was used to quantitate C. leptum group and its most prominent constituent, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.


Twenty five different operational taxonomic units (OTUs, equivalent to species) were identified constituting the C. leptum group in these participants. Their sequences were deposited in GenBank [accession numbers GQ465348 to GQ465370]. OTU number was significantly reduced in CD (7.7±3.7, mean±SD) and UC (9.0±3.0) compared to HC (11.9±2.2) (P=0.0005). The Simpson D index of alpha diversity was not significantly different between the three groups. Total numbers of C. leptum group bacteria and F. prausnitzii were reduced in both CD and UC compared to HC (P=0.0036 and P<0.0001 respectively). Disease activity did not influence numbers of C. leptum or F. prausnitzii in patients with CD or UC.


C. leptum numbers and diversity were significantly reduced in both CD and UC suggesting that alterations noted were not specific to one disease. This could contribute to reduced short chain fatty acid production in IBD.

Clostridial cluster IV; Dysbiosis; Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; Short chain fatty acids