Although pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) is effective in the alleviation of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI)-related symptoms in patients with chronic pancreatitis, its mechanism of action is poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that the intestinal microbiota is associated with the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis. Therefore, we hypothesized that PERT exerts its effect by modifying the intestinal microbiota in addition to its presumed role in promoting fat and protein absorption. To explore the mechanism of action of PERT, we analyzed the intestinal microbiotas of two groups of mice treated with either pancrelipase or tap water by using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. The results revealed that the bacterial compositions of the pancrelipase-treated mice were significantly different from those of the control samples. Akkermansia muciniphila, a key beneficial bacterium in the intestinal tract, showed a higher relative abundance in the pancrelipase-treated samples than in the control samples. Lactobacillus reuteri, a widely used probiotic bacterium known to relieve intestinal inflammation, also showed a higher relative abundance in the pancrelipase-treated samples. These results suggested that PERT induces the colonization of beneficial bacteria, thereby contributing to the attenuation of PEI-associated symptoms in addition to improvement of the nutritional state.
Keywords: Akkermansia muciniphila; Chronic pancreatitis; Intestinal microbiota; Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; Pancrelipase.
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