Scientific reports 2018 03 218(1) 4951 doi 10.1038/s41598-018-23023-z
Colonic diverticula are protrusions of the mucosa through weak areas of the colonic musculature. The etiology of diverticulosis is poorly understood, but could be related to gut bacteria. Using mucosal biopsies from the sigmoid colon of 226 subjects with and 309 subjects without diverticula during first-time screening colonoscopy, we assessed whether individuals with incidental colonic diverticulosis have alternations in the adherent bacterial communities in the sigmoid colon. We found little evidence of substantial associations between the microbial community and diverticulosis among cases and controls. Comparisons of bacterial abundances across all taxonomic levels showed differences for phylum Proteobacteria (p = 0.038) and family Comamonadaceae (p = 0.035). The r-squared values measuring the strength of these associations were very weak, however, with values ~2%. There was a similarly small association between the abundance of each taxa and total diverticula counts. Cases with proximal only diverticula and distal only diverticula likewise showed little difference in overall microbiota profiles. This large study suggests little association between diverticula and the mucosal microbiota overall, or by diverticula number and location. We conclude that the mucosal adherent microbiota community composition is unlikely to play a substantial role in development of diverticulosis.