Potential mechanisms of effects of serum-derived bovine immunoglobulin/protein isolate therapy in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome

Physiol Rep. 2017 Mar;5(5):e13170. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13170.


Serum-derived bovine immunoglobulin/protein isolate (SBI), an oral nutritional therapy, is efficacious in diverse diarrheal diseases. In an open-label study in 15 patients with irritable bowel syndrome-diarrhea (IBS-D), we evaluated effects of SBI (5.0 g, twice a day) for 8 weeks on safety, on bowel function and abdominal pain, tryptophan metabolism (K:T ratio), intestinal permeability (13C-mannitol and lactulose excretion), bile acid synthesis (fasting serum FGF-19 and C4), duodenal and stool microbiome, and the expression of 90 genes related to inflammation, immune function, and tight junctions in duodenal mucosa. Statistical analysis (paired tests, baseline vs. treatment) was based on intention to treat (ITT) principles. One of 15 Caucasian patients (13F, 2M, age 40.3 ± 2.3y, BMI 34.3 ± 3.0 kg/m2) withdrew without completing studies. There were improvements in stools/day (decrease, P < 0.001), ease of passage (P = 0.035), and evacuation (P = 0.004) with SBI therapy. Worst pain severity was numerically reduced in last 2 weeks' treatment (P = 0.078). Duodenal mucosal mRNA expression; serum C4, FGF-19, and KT ratio; small bowel or colon permeability; and stool microbiome were not significantly different after SBI therapy, compared to baseline. In duodenal brushings, there was considerable microbiota structure difference (β diversity analysis P = 0.072, UniFrac) and, on taxonomic analysis, increased abundance of Proteobacteria Burkholderiales, Firmicutes Catonella, and unclassified genus organisms with SBI therapy. Thus, SBI therapy for 8 weeks in IBS-D patients is associated with improved bowel function; the mechanism of benefit is unclear, though there were microbiota structure differences in duodenal brushings. Further studies in patients with low-grade inflammation and intestinal barrier dysfunction at baseline are indicated.

Keywords: Bile acids; gene expression; permeability; tryptophan.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / drug therapy*
  • Abdominal Pain / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy*
  • Diarrhea / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / therapeutic use*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / metabolism
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Permeability
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunoglobulins