Diet, antibiotic use, and intestinal inflammation influence the gut microbial composition in pediatric Crohn’s disease, according to a study in Cell Host and Microbe.
The gut contains a community of microbes that help with digestion and metabolism. Crohn’s disease is a chronic ailment characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract and an imbalance of the gut microbial composition, termed dysbiosis.
A recent study determined how environmental factors such as diet, antibiotic therapy, and use of medication to suppress intestinal inflammation (immunosuppressant) affect the gut microbial composition in children diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The study examined 90 children who had started treatment using either a defined formula diet through tube feeding or immunosuppressant medication. Stool samples were collected from the patients for 8 weeks to determine changes in the intestinal flora.
The study found that the gut microbial composition in children with Crohn’s disease was less diverse compared to healthy children, with fewer numbers of bacterial species, but higher fungi composition. Previous antibiotic use also strongly correlated with increased dysbiosis in patients. A defined formula diet or use of immunosuppressant effectively reduced intestinal inflammation and altered the gut microbial composition. Patients who responded positively to either treatment had a gut microbial community closer to that of healthy controls after 8 weeks.
This study showed how different environmental factors modulate the gut microbial composition in pediatric Crohn’s disease and present data that could be used for future treatment interventions.
Lewis DL, et al. Inflammation, antibiotics, and diet as environmental stressors of the gut microbiome in pediatric Crohn’s disease. Cell Host and Microbe. Published online on 14 October 2015; 18: 489-500. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2015.09.008
Written by Ana Victoria Pilar, PhD