Spatio-temporal dynamics of the human small intestinal microbiome and its response to a synbiotic


Ellen Wilms, Jacoline Gerritsen, Hye Kyong Kim, Celia Seguí Pérez, Isolde Besseling-van der Vaart, Daisy M.A.E. Jonkers, Ger T. Rijkers, Willem M. de Vos, Ad A.M. Masclee, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Freddy J. Troost, Hauke Smidt




Taylor & Francis Online


Although fecal microbiota composition is considered to preserve relevant and representative information for distal colonic content, it is evident that it does not represent microbial communities inhabiting the small intestine. Nevertheless, studies investigating the human small intestinal microbiome and its response to dietary intervention are still scarce. The current study investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of the small intestinal microbiome within a day and over 20 days, as well as its responses to a 14-day synbiotic or placebo control supplementation in 20 healthy subjects. Microbial composition and metabolome of luminal content of duodenum, jejunum, proximal ileum and feces differed significantly from each other. Additionally, differences in microbiota composition along the small intestine were most pronounced in the morning after overnight fasting, whereas differences in composition were not always measurable around noon or in the afternoon. Although overall small intestinal microbiota composition did not change significantly within 1 day and during 20 days, remarkable, individual-specific temporal dynamics were observed in individual subjects. In response to the synbiotic supplementation, only the microbial diversity in jejunum changed significantly. Increased metabolic activity of probiotic strains during intestinal passage, as assessed by metatranscriptome analysis, was not observed. Nevertheless, synbiotic supplementation led to a short-term spike in the relative abundance of genera included in the product in the small intestine approximately 2 hours post-ingestion. Collectively, small intestinal microbiota are highly dynamic. Ingested probiotic bacteria could lead to a transient spike in the relative abundance of corresponding genera and ASVs, suggesting their passage through the entire gastrointestinal tract. This study was registered to, NCT02018900.