A Pilot Study Investigating Faecal Microbiota After Two Dietary Interventions in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Curr Microbiol. 2022 Jun 7;79(7):215. doi: 10.1007/s00284-022-02899-1.


There is evidence for an impact of the gut microbiota on the immune system, which has consequences for inflammatory diseases. Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) and the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) have been demonstrated as effective anti-inflammatory treatments for children with Crohn's disease. We have previously shown an anti-inflammatory effect from these nutritional treatments in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). The aim of this study was to investigate if improved clinical symptoms after EEN or SCD treatment in children with JIA could be linked to changes in faecal microbiota. We included sixteen patients with JIA (age 7-17 years), six for treatment with EEN and ten with SCD. EEN was given for 3-5 weeks and SCD for 4-5 weeks, with clinical and laboratory status assessed before and after treatment. Faecal samples were analysed for microbiota diversity and composition using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Analyses of the faecal microbiota showed an effect on the overall composition with both interventions; the most striking result was a decreased relative abundance of the genus Faecalibacterium from EEN and of Bifidobacterium from SCD. The α-diversity decreased significantly from SCD (P = 0.04), but not from EEN (P = 0.22). Despite the study cohorts being small, both EEN and SCD were shown to impact the faecal microbiota. Future larger studies with a focus on metagenomics or metabolomics could possibly reveal a link and clarify the clinical effects of those nutritional regimens.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / therapy
  • Child
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Pilot Projects
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S