Background: Despite its high prevalence and significant effect on quality of life, the etiology of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), and specifically irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), has yet to be fully elucidated. While alterations in immunity, motility, and the brain-gut axis have been implicated in disease pathogenesis, the intestinal microbiota are increasingly being shown to play a role and numerous studies have demonstrated significant differences from normal in the intestinal flora of patients with FGID, and between types of FGID. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a curative therapy for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), a disease hallmarked by intestinal dysbiosis, and FMT is now being explored as a means to also restore intestinal homeostasis in FGID.
Purpose: This review aims to investigate the role of intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of FGID, the implications of FMT for the treatment of FGID, and the challenges encountered in measuring response to a specific intervention in patients with FGID.
Keywords: fecal microbiota transplantation; functional gastrointestinal disorders; intestinal microbiota; irritable bowel syndrome.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.