Crohn's disease (CD), a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is a chronic condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is caused by the loss of mucosal tolerance towards the commensal bacteria resulting in inflammatory responses. It has long been postulated that the gut microbiota, a complex and dynamic population of microorganisms, plays a key role in the pathogenesis of IBD. Maternal diagnosis of IBD has been identified as the greatest risk factor for IBD in offspring increasing the odds of developing the disease >4.5-fold. Moreover, babies born to mothers with IBD have demonstrated reduced gut bacterial diversity. There is accumulating evidence that the early life microbiota colonization is informed by maternal diet within the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. While babies born to mothers with IBD would pose an ideal cohort for intervention, no primary prevention measures are currently available. Therefore, we designed the MELODY (Modulating Early Life Microbiome through Dietary Intervention in Pregnancy) trial to test whether the IBD-AID™ dietary intervention during the last trimester of pregnancy can beneficially shift the microbiome of CD patients and their babies, thereby promoting a strong, effective immune system during a critical time of the immune system development. We will also test if favorable changes in the microbiome can lead to a reduced risk of postpartum CD relapse and lower mucosal inflammation in the offspring. This study will help create new opportunities to foster a healthy microbiome in the offspring at high risk of other immune-mediated diseases, potentially reducing their risk later in life.
Keywords: CD, Crohn's disease; Crohn's disease; Diet; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; IBD-AID™; IBD-AID™, IBD Anti-inflammatory Diet; MELODY, Modulating Early Life Microbiome through Dietary Intervention in Pregnancy; Microbiome; Pregnancy.