Gut Microbiome Composition Is Associated With Future Onset of Crohn's Disease in Healthy First-Degree Relatives

The CCC GEM Project Research Consortium

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29 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: The cause of Crohn's disease (CD) is unknown, but the current hypothesis is that microbial or environmental factors induce gut inflammation in genetically susceptible individuals, leading to chronic intestinal inflammation. Case-control studies of patients with CD have cataloged alterations in the gut microbiome composition; however, these studies fail to distinguish whether the altered gut microbiome composition is associated with initiation of CD or is the result of inflammation or drug treatment. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, 3483 healthy first-degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with CD were recruited to identify the gut microbiome composition that precedes the onset of CD and to what extent this composition predicts the risk of developing CD. We applied a machine learning approach to the analysis of the gut microbiome composition (based on 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing) to define a microbial signature that associates with future development of CD. The performance of the model was assessed in an independent validation cohort. Results: In the validation cohort, the microbiome risk score (MRS) model yielded a hazard ratio of 2.24 (95% confidence interval, 1.03-4.84; P = .04), using the median of the MRS from the discovery cohort as the threshold. The MRS demonstrated a temporal validity by capturing individuals that developed CD up to 5 years before disease onset (area under the curve > 0.65). The 5 most important taxa contributing to the MRS included Ruminococcus torques, Blautia, Colidextribacter, an uncultured genus-level group from Oscillospiraceae, and Roseburia. Conclusion: This study is the first to demonstrate that gut microbiome composition is associated with future onset of CD and suggests that gut microbiome is a contributor in the pathogenesis of CD.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)670-681
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

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© 2023 AGA Institute


  • Faecalibacterium
  • Fecal Calprotectin
  • Microbiome
  • Preclinical Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Vitamins B


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