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Intestinal Staphylococcus spp. and virulent features associated with coeliac disease
  1. Ester Sánchez1,
  2. Carmen Ribes-Koninckx2,
  3. Miguel Calabuig3,
  4. Yolanda Sanz1
  1. 1Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), Valencia, Spain
  2. 2Hospital Universitario La Fe, Valencia, Spain
  3. 3Hospital General Universitario, Valencia, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yolanda Sanz, IATA-CSIC, Av. Agustín Escardino, 7. 46980 Paterna-Valencia, Spain; yolsanz{at}


Aim To determine whether intestinal Staphylococcus spp. and their pathogenic features differed between coeliac disease (CD) patients and healthy controls.

Methods 60 children, including active CD (n=20) and non-active CD (n=20) patients and healthy controls (n=20), were studied. Staphylococci were isolated from faeces and identified by PCR and DNA sequencing. The carriage of virulent genes, including adhesion (atlE and fbe), cell aggregation (icaD), global regulatory (agr and sar) and methicillin-resistant (mecA) genes, was analysed by PCR.

Results Staphylococcus epidermidis was more abundant in the microbiota of active and non-active CD patients than in controls. Staphylococcus haemolyticus was more abundant in active CD patients than in control subjects. Staphylococcus aureus was less abundant in active CD patients than in the other child groups. Staphylococcus spp. diversity was higher in active CD patients than in non-active CD patients and controls. The presence of the mecA gene and the simultaneous presence of both the mecA and atlE genes were higher in S. epidermidis clones isolated from CD patients, with active and non-active disease, than in those from control subjects. The individual presence of the other virulent genes was lower in S. epidermidis from active CD patients than in those from the other -child- groups.

Conclusions Increased abundance of S. epidermidis carrying the mecA gene, in active and non-active CD patients, most likely reflects increased exposure of these subjects to opportunistic pathogens and antimicrobials.

  • Coeliac disease
  • gut microbiota
  • staphylococcus
  • methicillin resistance
  • anaerobes
  • bacteriology
  • clinical infectious diseases
  • infectious intestinal disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease

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  • Funding This work was supported by Grants AGL2008-01440/ALI, and Consolider Fun-C-Food CSD2007-00063 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the hospitals taking part in the study (Hospital Universitario La Fe and Hospital General Universitario, Valencia, Spain). Children were enrolled in the study after written informed consent was obtained from their parents.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.