The Effect of Anaerobically Cultivated Human Intestinal Microbiota Compared to Fecal Microbiota Transplantation on Gut Microbiota Profile and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study

Microorganisms. 2022 Sep 11;10(9):1819. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10091819.


Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy donors has been shown to improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and changes the profile of the gut microbiota for the recipients. Alternatively, anaerobically cultivated human intestinal microbiota (ACHIM) can be used to manipulate the gut microbiota. The aim of the current study was to compare the efficacy and safety of ACHIM suspension with donor-FMT and placebo (patient's own feces) to treat IBS. Out of the 62 originally included eligible patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS and their respective donors, only 43 patients completed the study by answering the questionnaires and delivering fecal samples before transplantation and after 1, 4, 12 and 24 weeks. The patients were randomized into three subgroups for receiving ACHIM suspension (n = 17), donor-FMT (n = 11), or placebo (n = 15), and were followed up for 24 weeks. Fecal samples were analyzed by sequencing 16S rRNA gene using the GA-map Dysbiosis Test (Genetic Analysis AS, Oslo, Norway). IBS symptom questionnaires improved in all three subgroups. Bacterial strain signals in IBS patients were more significant for Actinobacteria spp. and Bifidobacteria spp. after receiving donor-FMT compared to placebo and for Alistipes onderdonkii before and after treatment in the subgroups of ACHIM and donor-FMT vs. placebo. These signals change after treatment with ACHIM suspension and donor FMT towards those measured for healthy controls, but not after placebo. IBS symptom questionnaires improved in all three forms of transplantation. Some bacterial strain signals were significantly different between ACHIM and donor-FMT vs. placebo. However, the placebo subgroup failed to change the gut microbiota towards signals measured for healthy controls. The safety and efficacy of ACHIM and donor-FMT seems similar in the current study, but further larger studies are needed.

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; ACHIM; FMT; IBS; gut microbiota.