The involvement of gut microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease pathogenesis: potential for therapy

Pharmacol Ther. 2015 May;149:191-212. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2014.12.006. Epub 2015 Jan 3.


Over the past recent years, a great number of studies have been directed toward the evaluation of the human host-gut microbiota interaction, with the goal to progress the understanding of the etiology of several complex diseases. Alterations in the intestinal microbiota associated with inflammatory bowel disease are well supported by literature data and have been widely accepted by the research community. The concomitant implementation of high-throughput sequencing techniques to analyze and characterize the composition of the intestinal microbiota has reinforced the view that inflammatory bowel disease results from altered interactions between gut microbes and the mucosal immune system and has raised the possibility that some form of modulation of the intestinal microbiota may constitute a potential therapeutic basis for the disease. The aim of this review is to describe the changes of gut microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease, focusing the attention on its involvement in the pathogenesis of the disease, and to review and discuss the therapeutic potential to modify the intestinal microbial population with antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation.

Keywords: Fecal microbiota transplantation; Gut microbiota; Inflammatory bowel disease; Metagenomics; Probiotics; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Models, Immunological
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Synbiotics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Prebiotics