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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 505674, 11 pages
Research Article

Assessment of the Microbiota in Microdissected Tissues of Crohn's Disease Patients

1Department of Morphology and Molecular Pathology, University Hospitals KULeuven, Minderbroedersstraat 12, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2Department Research Informatics & Integrated Genomics, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Turnhoutseweg 30, 2340 Beerse, Belgium
3Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospitals KULeuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 18 July 2011; Revised 5 September 2011; Accepted 14 September 2011

Academic Editor: Derek Jewell

Copyright © 2012 Gert De Hertogh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract is frequently mentioned as one of the key players in the etiopathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). Four hypotheses have been suggested: the single, still unknown bacterial pathogen, an abnormal overall composition of the bowel microbiota (“dysbiosis”), an abnormal immunological reaction to an essentially normally composed microbiota, and increased bacterial translocation. We propose that laser capture microdissection of selected microscopic structures, followed by broad-range 16S rRNA gene sequencing, is an excellent method to assess spatiotemporal alterations in the composition of the bowel microbiota in CD. Using this approach, we demonstrated significant changes of the composition, abundance, and location of the gut microbiome in this disease. Some of these abnormal findings persisted even after macroscopic mucosal healing. Further investigations along these lines may lead to a better understanding of the possible involvement of the bowel bacteria in the development of clinical Crohn's disease.