Sulphate-reducing bacteria from ulcerative colitis patients induce apoptosis of gastrointestinal epithelial cells

Cláudia Mara Lara Melo Coutinho, Robson Coutinho-Silva, Vitally Zinkevich, Callum B. Pearce, David M. Ojcius, Iwona Beech

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The human microbiome consists of a multitude of bacterial genera and species which continuously interact with one another and their host establishing a metabolic equilibrium. The dysbiosis can lead to the development of pathology, such as inflammatory bowel diseases. Sulfide-producing prokaryotes, including sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) constituting different genera, including the Desulfovibrio, are commonly detected within the human microbiome recovered from fecal material or colonic biopsy samples. It has been proposed that SRB likely contribute to colonic pathology, for example ulcerative colitis (UC).

The interaction of SRB with the human colon and intestinal epithelial cell lines has been investigated using Desulfovibrio indonesiensis as a model mono-culture and in a co-culture with E. coli isolate, and with SRB consortia from human biopsy samples.
We find that D. indonesiensis, whether as a mono- or co-culture, was internalized and induced apoptosis in colon epithelial cells. This effect was enhanced in the presence of E. coli. The SRB combination obtained through enrichment of biopsies from UC patients induced apoptosis of a human intestinal epithelial cell line. This response was not observed in SRB enrichments from healthy (non-UC) controls. Importantly, apoptosis was detected in epithelial cells from UC patients and was not seen in epithelial cells of healthy donors. Furthermore, the antibody raised against exopolysaccharides (EPS) of D. indonesiensis cross reacted with the SRB population from UC patients but not with the SRB combination from non-UC controls. This study reinforces a correlation between the presence of sulphate-reducing bacteria and an inflammatory response in UC sufferers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Early online date28 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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