Viral metagenomic analysis of fecal samples reveals an enteric virome signature in irritable bowel syndrome

Mina Hojat Ansari, Mehregan Ebrahimi, Mohammad Reza Fattahi, Michael G. Gardner, Ali Reza Safarpour, Mohammad Ali Faghihi, Kamran Bagheri Lankarani

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Background: Changes in the enteric microbiota have been suggested to contribute to gastrointestinal diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome. Most of the published work is on bacterial dysbiosis with meager data on the role of the virome in irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal diseases. In the current study, we therefore aimed to investigate the viral community composition of the gut and test for potential dysbiosis linked to irritable bowel syndrome. Results: A metagenomics analysis on fecal samples of 50 individuals - 30 of whom met the Rome IV criteria for IBS and 20 healthy controls - was conducted. There was a noticeable alteration in viral taxa observed in association with irritable bowel syndrome when compared to healthy individuals - where some eukaryotic viral taxa noticeably prevail over others. We observed a significant decrease in the diversity and abundance of enteric virome particularly in eukaryotic viruses of Megavirales in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Conclusions: These findings shed light on a new hypothesis that the alteration of the viral taxa contributes to the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome and related symptoms, and therefore, pave the way for developing a new diagnostic biomarker or anti-viral drugs for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020

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© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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  • Bacteriophages
  • Enteric virome
  • Eukaryotic viruses
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Metagenomics analysis
  • Microbiota


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