Could the Microbiota Be a Predictive Factor for the Clinical Response to Probiotic Supplementation in IBS-D? A Cohort Study

Microorganisms. 2023 Jan 20;11(2):277. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11020277.


Background: Increasing evidence suggests the beneficial effects of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but little is known about how they can impact the gut microbiota. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of a multistrain probiotic on IBS symptoms, gut permeability and gut microbiota in patients with diarrhoea-predominant IBS (IBS-D).

Methods: Adults with IBS-D were enrolled in an open-label trial to receive a multistrain probiotic for 4 weeks. Abdominal pain, stool frequency, quality of life, gut permeability, and the luminal and adherent microbiota from colonic biopsies were evaluated before and after supplementation.

Results: Probiotics significantly improved symptoms and quality of life, despite having no impact on permeability in the global population. In the population stratified by the response, the diarrhoea responders displayed reduced colonic permeability after supplementation. The luminal and adherent microbiota were specifically altered depending on the patients' clinical responses regarding pain and diarrhoea. Interestingly, we identified a microbial signature in IBS-D patients that could predict a response or lack of response to supplementation.

Conclusions: The multistrain probiotic improved the symptoms of IBS-D patients and induced distinct effects on the gut microbiota according to the patient's clinical response and initial microbiota composition. Our study further supports the need to develop individualised probiotic-based approaches regarding IBS.

Keywords: diarrhoea; intestinal permeability; irritable bowel syndrome; microbiota; probiotics.