Fruit Consumption is Associated with Alterations in Microbial Composition and Lower Rates of Pouchitis
BACKGROUND: Patients with ulcerative colitis [UC] who undergo proctocolectomy with an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis commonly develop pouch inflammation [pouchitis]. Pouchitis develops in a previously normal small intestine and may involve environmental factors. We explored whether diet and microbiota alterations contributed to the pathogenesis of pouchitis. METHODS: Patients were recruited and prospectively followed at a comprehensive pouch clinic. Pouch behaviour was clinically defined as a normal pouch [NP] or pouchitis. Patients completed Food Frequency Questionnaires [FFQs]. Faecal samples were analysed for microbial composition [16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing]. RESULTS: Nutritional evaluation was performed in 172 patients [59% females], and of these, faecal microbial analysis was performed in 75 patients (microbiota cohort: NP [n = 22], pouchitis [n = 53]). Of the entire cohort, a subgroup of 39 [22.6%] patients had NP at recruitment [NP cohort]. Of these, 5 [12.8%] developed pouchitis within a year. Patients at the lowest tertile of fruit consumption [<1.45 servings/day] had higher rates of pouchitis compared with those with higher consumption [30.8% vs 3.8%, log rank, p = 0.03]. Fruit consumption was correlated with microbial diversity [r = 0.35, p = 0.002] and with the abundance of several microbial genera, including Faecalibacterium [r = 0.29, p = 0.01], Lachnospira [r = 0.38, p = 0.001], and a previously uncharacterized genus from the Ruminococcaceae family [r = 0.25, p = 0.05]. Reduction in fruit consumption over time was associated with disease recurrence and with reduced microbial diversity [Δ = -0.8 ± 0.3, p = 0.008]. CONCLUSIONS: Fruit consumption is associated with modification of microbial composition, and lower consumption was correlated with the development of pouchitis. Thus, fruit consumption may protect against intestinal inflammation via alteration of microbial composition.