• Crohn's disease;
  • 16S rRNA gene sequencing;
  • Faecal bacterial diversity


Intestinal microbial community is involved in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease, but knowledge of its potential abnormalities has been limited by the impossibility to grow many dominant intestinal bacteria. Using sequence analysis of randomly cloned bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA, the dominant faecal species from four Crohn's disease patients and four controls were compared. Whereas marked inter-individual differences were observed in the faecal microflora of patients, three remained distantly related to controls on the basis of their operational taxonomic unit composition. Bacteroides vulgatus and closely related organisms represented the only molecular species shared by all patients and exhibited an unusually high rate of occurrence. Escherichia coli clones were isolated only in two patients with ileocolonic Crohn's disease. Moreover, numerous clones belonged to phylogenetic groups or species that are commonly not dominant in the faecal microflora of healthy subjects: Pectinatus, Sutterella, Verrucomicrobium, Fusobacterium, Clostridium disporicum, Clostridium glycolicum, Clostridium ramosum, Clostridium innocuum and Clostridium perfringens.