Oral butyrate for mildly to moderately active Crohn's disease

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Nov 1;22(9):789-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2005.02639.x.


Background: Butyrate exerts anti-inflammatory effects in experimental colitis and on Crohn's disease lamina propria mononuclear cells in vitro.

Aim: To explore the efficacy and safety of oral butyrate in Crohn's disease.

Methods: Thirteen patients with mild-moderate ileocolonic Crohn's disease received 4 g/day butyrate as enteric-coated tablets for 8 weeks. Full colonoscopy and ileoscopy were performed before and after treatment. Endoscopical and histological score, laboratory data, Crohn's disease activity index and mucosal interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, interferon-gamma, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) were assessed before and after treatment.

Results: One patient withdrew from the study, and three patients did not experience clinical improvement. Among the nine patients (69%) who responded to treatment, seven (53%) achieved remission and two had a partial response. Endoscopical and histological score significantly improved after treatment at ileocaecal level (P < 0.05). Leucocyte blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and mucosal levels of NF-kappaB and IL-1beta significantly decreased after treatment (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Oral butyrate is safe and well tolerated, and may be effective in inducing clinical improvement/remission in Crohn's disease. These data indicate the need for a large investigation to extend the present findings, and suggest that butyrate may exert its action through downregulation of NF-kappaB and IL-1beta.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Blood Sedimentation / drug effects
  • Butyrates / administration & dosage*
  • Butyrates / adverse effects
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Crohn Disease / blood
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • NF-kappa B / analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Butyrates
  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • C-Reactive Protein