Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found the molecular signature of a healthy gut microbial community, or microbiome – the kind of community that keeps C. difficile in check even in the aftermath of antibiotic treatment. They also have identified a specific molecule produced when C. difficile is not lying dormant but is active and making toxins. Together, the findings outline a set of molecular signs that indicate a person has – or is at risk for – diarrhea caused by C. difficile.
“By analyzing the small molecules produced by the microbiome, we may be able to identify people at high risk for developing C. diff diarrhea.” Said senior author Jeffrey Henderson, MD, PhD. “ We also may be able to use this type of analysis to screen potential donors for fecal transplants and make sure they are donating the kind of microbiome that can help keep C. diff under control.”
The paper is the result of an interdisciplinary CDC-funded study with Erik R. Dubberke, MD, MSPH, Jennie H. Kwon, DO, Carey-Ann Burnham,PhD, D(ABMM), FIDSA, F(AAM) and mathematician collaborator, Peter J. Mucha PhD at U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill.