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.
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- Enteric virome
- Eukaryotic viruses
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Metagenomics analysis