Current status of fecal microbiota transplantation for irritable bowel syndrome
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNeurogastroenterology and Motility. 2021, e14157. 10.1111/nmo.14157
Background Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal functional disorder. Although IBS is a benign condition, it reduces the quality of life considerably. While there is currently no effective treatment for this disorder, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) seems to be promising. Purpose The aim of this review was to analysis possible factors affecting the success or failure of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of FMT for IBS and highlighting the gaps in our knowledge that need to be filled and of sketching a possible model for successful FMT in IBS patients. Methods A systematic search was conducted of literature published in English from January 2015 to December 2020 using the keywords: fecal microbiota transplantation, randomized trials, and IBS. Key Results Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the efficacy of FMT for IBS were found in the literature. Four of the seven RCTs found various positive effects, while the other three did not find any effect. Conclusions and Inferences The efficacy of FMT for IBS appears to be donor-dependent. The effective (super) donor would need to have a favorable microbiota signature, and 11 clinical criteria that are known to be associated with a favorable microbiota have been suggested for selecting FMT donors for IBS. Comparing the microbiota of the effective donors with those of healthy subjects would reveal the favorable microbiota signature required for a super-donor. However, the studies reviewed were not designed to compare efficacy of different donor types. The dose of the fecal transplant is also an important factor influencing the outcome of FMT for IBS. However, further studies designed to test the effect of fecal transplant dose are needed to answer this question. Administering the fecal transplant to either the small or large intestine seems to be effective, but the optimal route of administration remains to be determined. Moreover, whether single or repeated FMT is more effective is also still unclear. A 1-year follow-up of IBS patients who received FMT showed that adverse events of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation were both mild and self-limiting.