Colon to Rectum

Gastroenterology. 2024;166(3):483–95

Caenepeel C, Falony G, Machiels K, Verstockt B, Goncalves PJ, Ferrante M, Sabino J, Raes J, Vieira-Silva S, Vermeire S

Dysbiosis and associated stool features improve prediction of response to biological therapy in inflammatory bowel disease

Background and aims: Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota is considered a key contributor to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) etiology. Here, the authors investigated potential associations between microbiota composition and the outcomes to biological therapies.
Methods: The study prospectively recruited 296 patients with active IBD (203 with Crohn’s disease, 93 with ulcerative colitis) initiating biological therapy. Quantitative microbiome profiles of pretreatment and posttreatment fecal samples were obtained combining flow cytometry with 16S amplicon sequencing. Therapeutic response was assessed by endoscopy, patient-reported outcomes, and changes in fecal calprotectin. The effect of therapy on microbiome variation was evaluated using constrained ordination methods. Prediction of therapy outcome was performed using logistic regression with 5-fold cross-validation.
Results: At baseline, 65.9% of patients carried the dysbiotic Bacteroides2 (Bact2) enterotype, with a significantly higher prevalence among patients with ileal involvement (76.8%). Microbiome variation was associated with the choice of biological therapy rather than with therapeutic outcome. Only anti-tumor necrosis factor-α treatment resulted in a microbiome shift away from Bact2, concomitant with an increase in microbial load and butyrogen abundances and a decrease in potentially opportunistic Veillonella. Remission rates for patients hosting Bact2 at baseline were significantly higher with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α than with vedolizumab (65.1% vs. 35.2%). A prediction model, based on anthropometrics and clinical data, stool features (microbial load, moisture, and calprotectin), and Bact2 detection predicted treatment outcome with 73.9% accuracy for specific biological therapies.

Conclusion: Fecal characterization based on microbial load, moisture content, calprotectin concentration, and enterotyping may aid in the therapeutic choice of biological therapy in inflammatory bowel disease.

Prof. Dr. Dr. S. Vermeire, Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism (CHROMETA), University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, E-Mail:

DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2023.11.304

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