Gut bacteriophage dynamics during fecal microbial transplantation in subjects with metabolic syndrome

Pilar Manrique, Yifan Zhu, John van der Oost, Hilde Herrema, Max Nieuwdorp, Willem M. de Vos, Mark Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a growing public health concern worldwide. Individuals with MetS have an increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) disease and type 2 diabetes (T2D). These diseases–in part preventable with the treatment of MetS–increase the chances of premature death and pose a great economic burden to health systems. A healthy gut microbiota is associated with a reduction in MetS, T2D, and CV disease. Treatment of MetS with fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can be effective, however, its success rate is intermediate and difficult to predict. Because bacteriophages significantly affect the microbiota membership and function, the aim of this pilot study was to explore the dynamics of the gut bacteriophage community after FMT in MetS subjects. We performed a longitudinal study of stool bacteriophages from healthy donors and MetS subjects before and after FMT treatment. Subjects were assigned to either a control group (self-stool transplant, n = 3) or a treatment group (healthy-donor-stool transplant; n-recipients = 6, n-donors = 5). Stool samples were collected over an 18-week period and bacteriophage-like particles were purified and sequenced. We found that FMT from healthy donors significantly alters the gut bacteriophage community. Subjects with better clinical outcome clustered closer to the heathy donor group, suggesting that throughout the treatment, their bacteriophage community was more similar to healthy donors. Finally, we identified bacteriophage groups that could explain these differences and we examined their prevalence in individuals from a larger cohort of MetS FMT trial. Trial information-; NTR 2705.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2021


  • fecal microbial transplant
  • Gut microbiome bacteriophages
  • human gut phage metagenomics
  • metabolic syndrome

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