Smoking has disruptive effects on the small bowel luminal microbiome

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer, and affects the respiratory, oral, fecal, and duodenal mucosa-associated microbiota. However, the effects of smoking on the duodenal luminal microbiome have not been studied directly.


We aimed to compare the duodenal luminal microbiome in never-smokers, current smokers, and ex-smokers who quit ≥ 10 years ago. In a cross-sectional study, current smokers (CS, n = 24) were identified and matched to never-smokers (NS, n = 27) and ex-smokers (XS, n = 27) by age (± 5 years), body mass index (BMI, ± 3 kg/m2), and sex. Current antibiotic users were excluded. The duodenal luminal microbiome was analysed in 1 aspirate sample per subject by 16S rRNA gene sequencing.


Relative abundances (RA) of families associated with increased duodenal microbial diversity, Prevotellaceae, Neisseriaceae, and Porphyromonadaceae, were significantly lower in CS vs. NS. This was driven by lower RA of unknown Prevotella and Porphyromonas species, and Neisseria subflava and N. cinerea, in CS. In contrast, RA of Enterobacteriaceae and Lactobacillaceae (associated with decreased diversity), were significantly higher in CS, due to higher RA of Escherichia-Shigella, Klebsiella and Lactobacillus species.


Many of these changes were absent or less pronounced in XS, who exhibited a duodenal luminal microbiome more similar to NS. RA of taxa previously found to be increased in the oral and respiratory microbiota of smokers were also higher in the duodenal luminal microbiome, including Bulledia extructa and an unknown Filifactor species. In conclusion, smoking is associated with an altered duodenal luminal microbiome. However, ex-smokers have a duodenal luminal microbiome that is similar to never-smokers.



For more informations:

Published: 14 April 2022

Nature - Scientific reports; DOI: