Ketogenic diet poses a significant effect on imbalanced gut microbiota in infants with refractory epilepsy

World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Sep 7;23(33):6164-6171. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i33.6164.


Aim: To investigate whether patients with refractory epilepsy and healthy infants differ in gut microbiota (GM), and how ketogenic diet (KD) alters GM.

Methods: A total of 14 epileptic and 30 healthy infants were recruited and seizure frequencies were recorded. Stool samples were collected for 16S rDNA sequencing using the Illumina Miseq platform. The composition of GM in each sample was analyzed with MOTHUR, and inter-group comparison was conducted by R software.

Results: After being on KD treatment for a week, 64% of epileptic infants showed an obvious improvement, with a 50% decrease in seizure frequency. GM structure in epileptic infants (P1 group) differed dramatically from that in healthy infants (Health group). Proteobacteria, which had accumulated significantly in the P1 group, decreased dramatically after KD treatment (P2 group). Cronobacter predominated in the P1 group and remained at a low level both in the Health and P2 groups. Bacteroides increased significantly in the P2 group, in which Prevotella and Bifidobacterium also grew in numbers and kept increasing.

Conclusion: GM pattern in healthy infants differed dramatically from that of the epileptic group. KD could significantly modify symptoms of epilepsy and reshape the GM of epileptic infants.

Keywords: Cronobacter; Epilepsy; Gut microbiota; Ketogenic diet; Seizures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteroides / isolation & purification
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cronobacter / isolation & purification
  • Diet, Ketogenic / adverse effects*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / microbiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Proteobacteria / isolation & purification
  • Seizures / diet therapy*
  • Seizures / microbiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome