Smokers with active Crohn's disease have a clinically relevant dysbiosis of the gastrointestinal microbiota.
ABSTRACT Patients with Crohn's disease (CD) have an intestinal dysbiosis with components of the microbiota exerting differential immune effects. Smoking is associated with an increased incidence of CD, more frequent relapse, and greater burden of surgery. This study aimed to investigate the association between smoking and the intestinal microbiota in patients with active CD.
Patients with active CD (n = 103) and healthy controls (n = 66) were recruited and demographic and clinical data recorded including current smoking behavior. Fecal samples were collected and analyzed by fluorescent in situ hybridization using probes targeting 16S rRNA of bacteria previously shown to be altered in active CD (bifidobacteria, bacteroides, Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale, Escherichia coli, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii).
In total, 29/101 (29%) patients with CD and 8/58 (14%) controls were current smokers (P = 0.032). Following multivariate analysis, smoking was found to have a significant and independent effect on the microbiota of patients with CD, with higher Bacteroides-Prevotella in smokers (38.4%) compared with nonsmokers (28.1%) (F((1,93)) = 12.6, P = 0.001). Healthy controls who smoked also had higher Bacteroides-Prevotella (34.8%) than nonsmokers (24.1%) (F((1,55)) = 4.5, P = 0.038). In the pooled multivariate analysis, patients with CD had higher bifidobacteria (F((1,156)) = 30.5, P < 0.001), higher Bacteroides-Prevotella (F((1,156)) = 6.5, P = 0.012), and lower F. prausnitzii (F((1,156)) = 3.8, P = 0.052) compared with healthy controls.
Smokers have luminal microbiota that consist of significantly higher bacteroides. Investigation of whether this is one mechanism through which the negative effects of smoking on CD are mediated is warranted.