Onderwerp scriptie

The Intestinal Microbiota in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most prevalent functional bowel disorder that affects about 20 percent of the general population. IBS is characterized by recurrent episodes of abdominal pain with altered bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation.

The pathophysiological pathway of IBS is unknown and diagnostic work-up does not reveal any structural abnormalities in the bowel. The risk of developing IBS increases sixfold after acute gastrointestinal infection suggesting a role of microbiota. The bowel complaints in IBS often vary in time. We speculate that the alternate course of bowel complaints in IBS may be due to alterations in the microbiota.

In a study entitled “A Cohort study of Intestinal Microbiota among IBS patients” (CO-MIC), which started in December 2009, we investigate the role and dynamics ofthe microbiota in patients with IBS in a longitudinal way during 1 year and correlate those with aspects related to the quality of life and diet of the host. In addition, we compare and contrast these observations in IBS patients to those in healthy subjects.

This study is a collaboration between the Laboratory of Microbiology (Dr. Erwin Zoetendal, Prof. Willem de Vos), The division of Human Nutrition (Prof EllenKampman) and hospital De Gelderse Vallei (Dr. Ben Witteman).

Research question:

Do microbial signatures exist in IBS?


  • Collecting fecal samples and questionnaires from volunteers.*
  • Molecular ecological work (DNA isolation, PCR, phylogenetic microarray analysis, etc).
  • Correlating microbiota composition data to host parameters (diet, quality of life).

More information

Project for MSc students with interest in Microbial Ecology and Human Nutrition

Supervisor: Dr. Erwin Zoetendal and Prof. Ellen Kampman
Contact info: Erwin.zoetendal@wur.nl
Tel: 0317-483111
Laboratory of Microbiology
Microbiology building (316), room 0029
Duration: 4-6.5 months
Credits: 39 (max.)

This project is primarily designed for an MSc thesis (6 months). For further information, please feel free to contact me.

*This part of the project will be done in collaboration with MSc. Lisette Kamps.