- The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine
- Internal Medicine (ISSN:09182918)
- vol.59, no.17, pp.2089-2094, 2020-09-01 (Released:2020-09-01)
Objective The relationship between gut microbiota and portal hypertension remains unclear. We investigated the characteristics of the gut microbiota in portal hypertension patients with esophago-gastric varices and liver cirrhosis. Methods Thirty-six patients (12 patients with portal hypertension, 12 healthy controls, and 12 non-cirrhosis patients) were enrolled in this university hospital study. Intestinal bacteria and statistical analyses were performed up to the genus level using the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism method targeting 16S ribosomal RNA genes, with diversified regions characterizing each bacterium. Results Levels of Lactobacillales were significantly higher (p=0.045) and those of Clostridium cluster IV significantly lower (p=0.014) in patients with portal hypertension than in other patients. This Clostridium cluster contains many butanoic acid-producing strains, including Ruminococcace and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Clostridium cluster IX levels were also significantly lower (p=0.045) in portal hypertension patients than in other patients. There are many strains of Clostridium that produce propionic acid, and the effects on the host and the function of these bacterial species in the human intestine remain unknown. Regarding the Bifidobacterium genus, which is supposed to decrease as a result of cirrhosis, no significant decrease was observed in this study. Conclusion In the present study, we provided information on the characteristics of the gut microbiota of portal hypertension patients with esophago-gastric varices due to liver cirrhosis. In the future, we aim to develop probiotic treatments following further analyses that include the species level, such as the intestinal flora analysis method and next-generation sequencers.