Durable long-term bacterial engraftment following encapsulated fecal microbiota transplantation to treat clostridium difficile infection

Christopher Staley, Thomas Kaiser, Byron P. Vaughn, Carolyn Graiziger, Matthew J. Hamilton, Amanda J. Kabage, Alexander Khoruts, Michael J. Sadowsky

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14 Scopus citations


Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has become a common rescue therapy for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, and encapsulated delivery (cFMT) of healthy donor microbiota shows similar clinical efficacy as more traditional routes of administration. In this study, we characterized long-term patterns of bacterial engraftment in a cohort of 18 patients, who received capsules from one of three donors, up to 409 days post-FMT. Bacterial communities were characterized using Illumina sequencing of the V5-V6 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene, and engraftment was determined by using the Bayesian algorithm SourceTracker. All patients recovered clinically and were free of C. difficile infection following cFMT. The majority of patients (61%) showed high levels of engraftment after the first week following FMT, which were sustained throughout the year. A small subset, 22%, experienced a decline in donor engraftment after approximately 1 month, and a few patients (17%), two of whom were taking metformin, showed delayed and low levels of donor engraftment. Members of the genera Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, and Faecalibacterium were significantly and positively correlated with donor similarity (ρ = 0.237 to 0.373, P≤ 0.017). Furthermore, throughout the year, patient fecal communities showed significant separation based on the donor fecal microbiota that they received (P≤0.001). Results of this study, which characterize long-term engraftment following cFMT, suggest that numerical donor similarity is not strictly related to clinical outcome and identify a persistent donor-specific effect on patient fecal microbial communities. Furthermore, results suggest that members of the Bacteroidetes may be important targets to improve engraftment via cFMT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01586-19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible by support by grants from the NIH 1R21-AI114722-01 (A.K. and M.J.S.), Achieving Cures Together (to A.K.), and the Hubbard Foundation (to A.K.).


  • Bacteroides
  • capsule FMT
  • donor
  • engraftment
  • fecal transplant
  • stable

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