Modulating the microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases: prebiotics, probiotics or faecal transplantation?Proc Nutr Soc 2014; 73(4):490-7PN
Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two major phenotypes of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) which constitute a spectrum of chronic, debilitating diseases characterised by a relapsing inflammation of the intestinal mucosal lining. Evidence from a variety of disciplines implicates the intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of idiopathic IBD and their complications, including pouchitis. Many studies have reported a dysbiosis in IBD, characterised by a decrease in diversity, a decreased abundance of some dominant commensal members (such as Clostridium IV and XIVa) and an increase in detrimental bacteria (such as sulphate reducing bacteria and Escherichia coli). Therapies such as prebiotics and probiotics aim to selectively manipulate the intestinal microbiota and have been evaluated as an attractive therapeutic option with few side effects. The multispecies product VSL#3 was found effective in preventing and maintaining remission in pouchitis, whereas both VSL#3 and E. coli Nissle were effective in maintaining remission in UC. A more drastic approach to restore the composition of the microbiota and correct the underlying imbalance is a faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). FMT has been successfully applied to treat patients with even recalcitrant Clostridium difficile infection. Particularly in UC, the majority of studies suggest that FMT may be an effective treatment option although the evidence is still limited. It is anticipated that our increasing knowledge on the composition and function of the intestinal microbiota components will allow in the future for a better selection of highly performing bacteria with specific functions required for specific benefits.