Purpose of review: Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) re-establishes a balanced intestinal flora with resultant cure of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (RCDI). FMT has also been used to treat other gastrointestinal (GI) diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and chronic constipation and a variety of non-GI disorders. The purpose of this review is to discuss the intestinal microbiota and FMT treatment of GI and non-GI diseases.
Recent findings: It is known that an imbalanced intestinal microbiota predisposes to CDI, IBD and IBS. The complex role of intestinal microbiota to maintain health, however, is a newer concept that is being increasingly studied. The microbiome plays an important role in cellular immunity and energy metabolism and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of non-GI autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity and even some neuropsychiatric disorders.
Summary: FMT is a highly effective cure for RCDI, but increased knowledge of the intestinal microbiota in health maintenance, as well as controlled trials of FMT in a wide range of disorders are needed before FMT can be accepted and applied clinically.