Segmented filamentous bacteria in human ileostomy samples after high-fiber intake


Correspondence: Hans Jonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Microbiology, Box 7025, SE-750 02 Uppsala, Sweden. Tel.: +46 (0)18-673327; fax: +46 (0)18-673327; e-mail:


Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) are inhabitants of the small intestine of various animals, where they can be detected microscopically due to their specific morphology and intimate association with the intestinal epithelium. SFB colonize the distal part of the small intestine in a host-specific manner and affects important functions of the immune system, such as the induction of secretory IgA production and regulation of T-cell maturation. Considering the influences SFB have on immune functions, they could be regarded as a key species in host–microbial interactions of the gastrointestinal tract. Although these influences might be executed by other microorganisms, a human-adapted variant of SFB is not unlikely. In this study, ileostomy samples from 10 human subjects were screened with PCR, using primers derived from sequences of SFB from rat and mouse. PCR products were obtained from samples taken from one individual at two time points. Sequencing revealed the presence of a 16S rRNA gene with high similarity (98%) to the corresponding genes from SFB of mouse and rat origin, thus indicating the presence of a human variant of SFB. The findings presented in this study will hopefully encourage research to elucidate whether this intriguing organism is a persistent member of the normal human microbiota.