Although incrimination of the intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of IBD is widely accepted, few data are available about the role of specific bacteria.
Potentially, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties, might be deficient in ulcerative colitis.
Dr Varela and colleagues from Spain quantified F. prausnitzii in the fecal microbiota of ulcerative colitis patients in remission, and determined its relationship with relapse.
The team performed a cross-sectional study, and included 116 ulcerative colitis patients in remission, 29 first-degree relatives, and 31 healthy controls.
A subset of 18 patients, recruited during the first month of remission, underwent a 1-year follow-up.
|Low counts of F. prausnitzii were associated with less than 12 months of remission|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Total bacteria and F. prausnitzii were measured by quantitative Real Time PCR.
Calprotectin was determined as inflammatory index.
The researchers found that F. prausnitzii was reduced in patients.
Moreover, low counts of F. prausnitzii were associated with less than 12 months of remission, and more than 1 relapse/year.
When patients were followed up, F. prausnitzii increased steadily until reaching similar levels to those of controls if remission persisted, whereas it remained low if patients relapsed.
Dr Varela's team commented, "Defective gut colonization by F. prausnitzii occurred in ulcerative colitis patients during remission and in their unaffected relatives."
"The recovery of the F. prausnitzii population after relapse is associated with maintenance of clinical remission."