MDPI, Microorganisms, 4(10), p. 737, 2022
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has the potential to restore (bacterial and fungal) microbial imbalance in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients and contribute to disease remission. Here, we aimed to identify fecal fungal species associated with the induction of clinical remission and endoscopic response to FMT for patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. We analyzed the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-based mycobiota composition in fecal samples from patients (n = 31) and donors (n = 7) that participated previously in a double-blinded randomized control trial evaluating the efficacy of two infusions of donor FMT compared with autologous FMT. The abundance of the yeast genus Filobasidium in fecal material used for transplantation was shown to correlate with clinical remission following FMT, irrespective of its presence in the material of donor or autologous fecal microbiota transfer. The amplified sequence variants within the genus Filobasidium most closely resembled Filobasidium magnum. Monocyte-derived macrophages and HT29 epithelial cells were stimulated with fungal species. Especially Filobasidium floriforme elicited an IL10 response in monocyte-derived macrophages, along with secretion of other cytokines following stimulation with other Filobasidium species. No effect of Filobasidium spp. was seen on epithelial wound healing in scratch assays. In conclusion, the enriched presence of Filobasidium spp. in donor feces is associated with the positive response to FMT for patients with UC and hence it may serve as a predictive fungal biomarker for successful FMT.