Background: Alteration of the gut microbiota by repeated antibiotic treatment increases susceptibility to Clostridioides difficile infection. Faecal microbiota transplantation from donors with a normal microbiota effectively treats C difficile infection.
Methods: The study involved 10 patients with recurrent C. difficile infection, nine of whom received transplants from individual donors and one who received a donor unit from a stool bank (OpenBiome).
Results: All individuals demonstrated enduring post-transplant resolution of C. difficile- associated diarrhoea. Faecal microbiota diversity of recipients significantly increased, and the composition of the microbiota resembled that of the donor. Patients with C. difficile infection exhibited significantly lower faecal levels of secondary/ bile acids and higher levels of primary bile acids. Levels of secondary bile acids were restored in all transplant recipients, but to a lower degree with the OpenBiome transplant. The abundance increased of bacterial genera known from previous studies to confer resistance to growth and germination of C. difficile. These were significantly negatively associated with primary bile acid levels and positively related with secondary bile acid levels. Although reduced levels of the short chain fatty acids, butyrate, propionate and acetate, have been previously reported, here we report elevations in SCFA, pyruvic and lactic fatty acids, saturated, omega-6, monounsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in C. difficile infection. This potentially indicates one or a combination of increased dietary FA intake, microbial modification of FAs or epithelial cell damage and inflammatory cell recruitment No reversion to donor FA profile occurred post-FMT but omega-3 to omega-6 PUFA ratios were altered in the direction of the donor. Archaeal metabolism genes were found in some samples post FMT.
Conclusion: A consistent metabolic signature was identified in the post-transplant microbiota, with reduced primary bile acids and substantial restoration of secondary bile acid production capacity. Total FA levels were unchanged but the ratio of inflammatory to non-inflammatory FAs decreased.