Gut Microbiota Composition of Biliary Atresia Patients Before Kasai Portoenterostomy Associates With Long-term Outcome

Daan B E van Wessel, M Nomden, J L M Bruggink, R H J de Kleine, A Kurilshikov, H J Verkade, H J M Harmsen, Jan B F Hulscher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Biliary atresia (BA) is a cholestatic, fibro-obliterative cholangiopathy of unknown etiology. BA is primarily treated by a surgical approach, i.e. the Kasai portoenterostomy (KPE), to obtain clearance of jaundice (COJ). The gut microbiota (GM) composition has been associated with the course of several cholestatic liver diseases. It is largely unknown, however, whether GM composition associates with the outcome of KPE. We compared the GM composition of BA patients and controls and assessed if GM composition before KPE was related to COJ after KPE.

METHODS: We compared feces of term born BA patients before KPE and controls (patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair) by 16S rRNA sequencing. Composition and alpha diversity of the GM were compared between BA and controls before KPE and after KPE, between patients with COJ vs. without COJ (total serum bilirubin < or ≥ 20 μmol/L < 6mo post-KPE).

RESULTS: Alpha diversity was comparable between BA (n = 12, age 1.6[1.3-1.8]mo) and controls (n = 6, age 2.0[1.4-2.1]mo; P = 0.22). Compared to controls, BA patients had lower abundances of Bifidobacteriaceae (β=-1.98, P < 0.001) and Lachnospiraceae (β=-1.84, P = 0.007), and higher abundances of Streptococcus (β=1.13, P = 0.003). The alpha diversity prior to KPE correlated negatively with COJ (R = -0.63, P = 0.03). Lower alpha diversity pre-KPE was associated with COJ [+] (βlogit = -0.64, P = 0.04). We observed greater abundances of genus Acinetobacter (β=1.27, P = 0.03) and family Clostridiaceae (β=1.45, P = 0.03) and lower abundances of the family Enterobacteriaceae, (genera Klebsiella (β=-1.21, P = 0.01), Salmonella (β=-1.57, P = 0.02)) in COJ [+] vs. COJ [-].

CONCLUSIONS: The gut microbiota of biliary atresia patients prior to Kasai portoenterostomy associates with outcome, clearance of jaundice, suggestive of predictive and mechanistic roles of the gut microbiota composition in bile homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online date14-Jul-2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2021


  • biliary atresia
  • cholestatic liver disease
  • clearance of jaundice
  • gut microbiota
  • gut-liver axis
  • Kasai portoenterostomy

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