Microbiota composition and mucosal immunity in patients with asymptomatic diverticulosis and controls
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Introduction The etiology of diverticulosis is still poorly understood. However, in patients with diverticulitis, markers of mucosal inflammation and microbiota alterations have been found. The aim of this study was to evaluate potential differences of the gut microbiota composition and mucosal immunity between patients with asymptomatic diverticulosis and controls. Methods We performed a prospective study on patients who underwent routine colonoscopy for causes not related to diverticular disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Participants were grouped based on the presence or absence of diverticula. Mucosal biopsies were obtained from the sigmoid and transverse colon. Microbiota composition was analyzed with IS-pro, a 16S-23S based bacterial profiling technique. To predict if patients belonged to the asymptomatic diverticulosis or control group a partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) regression model was used. Inflammation was assessed by neutrophil and lymphocyte counts within the taken biopsies. Results Forty-three patients were enrolled. Intestinal microbiota profiles were highly similar within individuals for all phyla. Between individuals, microbiota profiles differed substantially but regardless of the presence (n = 19) of absence (n = 24) of diverticula. Microbiota diversity in both sigmoid and transverse colon was similar in all participants. We were not able to differentiate between diverticulosis patients and controls with a PLS-DA model. Mucosal lymphocyte counts were comparable among both groups; no neutrophils were detected in any of the studied biopsies. Conclusions Microbiota composition and inflammatory markers were comparable among asymptomatic diverticulosis patients and controls. This suggests that the gut microbiota and mucosal inflammation do not play a major role in the pathogenesis of diverticula formation.