Intestinal Virome Might Be the Culprit of IBD

The human microbiome contains a community of microorganisms that include bacteria, fungi, and even viruses, which is called the human virome, a community of both beneficial and pathogenic viruses. 

This virome starts developing at birth and may be an equally important factor in health as the microbiome. 

In a recently published study, researchers found out that virome particles from people with IBD can cause inflammation when they are transplanted into human intestinal tissue. 

Two Probable Culprits Found 

The study from the Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that disturbances in the intestinal virome may be a cause of IBD. The results appear in the journal Science Immunology. 

The researchers tested the effectiveness of 2 types of virus-like particles on in vitro human cells: macrophages and intestinal epithelial cells. 

The researchers also found that viruses enriched from healthy, IBD-free colon tissue elicited antiinflammatory immune responses and were protective to the gut. In comparison, viruses isolated from colon resections postsurgery of ulcerative colitis or Chron’s disease patients provoked inflammation and intestinal damage. 

Two of the viruses that the team found to be possible culprits under surveillance are Caudovirales order of bacteriophages and enteroviruses from the Picornavirus family of eukaryotic viruses. They found a high level of these organisms in colon of IBD patients. 

According to the researchers it would be important to definitively demonstrate that individual culprit viruses contribute to predisposition of disease and inflammation fares in order to develop treatments and vaccines for them.


Robby Berman. (2022, Apr 21). Gut microbiome and IBD: Intestinal ‘virome’ could be missing link. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: 

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