Objective: Patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) were previously shown to display a bacterial gut dysbiosis but fungal microbiota has never been examined in these patients. The aim of this study was to assess the fungal gut microbiota in patients with PSC.
Design: We analysed the faecal microbiota of patients with PSC and concomitant IBD (n=27), patients with PSC and no IBD (n=22), patients with IBD and no PSC (n=33) and healthy subjects (n=30). Bacterial and fungal composition of the faecal microbiota was determined using 16S and ITS2 sequencing, respectively.
Results: We found that patients with PSC harboured bacterial dysbiosis characterised by a decreased biodiversity, an altered composition and a decreased correlation network density. These alterations of the microbiota were associated with PSC, independently of IBD status. For the first time, we showed that patients with PSC displayed a fungal gut dysbiosis, characterised by a relative increase in biodiversity and an altered composition. Notably, we observed an increased proportion of Exophiala and a decreased proportion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Compared with patients with IBD and healthy subjects, the gut microbiota of patients with PSC exhibited a strong disruption in bacteria-fungi correlation network, suggesting an alteration in the interkingdom crosstalk.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that bacteria and fungi contribute to gut dysbiosis in PSC.