Intestinal bacteria associated with irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2023 Sep;35(9):e14621. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14621. Epub 2023 May 29.


The etiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is unknown. Abnormal intestinal bacterial profiles and low bacterial diversity appear to play important roles in the pathophysiology of IBS. This narrative review was designed to present recent observations made relating to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which implicate possible roles of 11 intestinal bacteria in the pathophysiology of IBS. The intestinal abundances of nine of these bacteria increased after FMT in patients with IBS, and these increases were inversely correlated with IBS symptoms and fatigue severity. These bacteria were Alistipes spp., Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium biforme, Holdemanella biformis, Prevotella spp., Bacteroides stercoris, Parabacteroides johnsonii, Bacteroides zoogleoformans, and Lactobacillus spp. The intestinal abundances of two bacteria were decreased in patients with IBS after FMT and were correlated with the severity of IBS symptoms and fatigue (Streptococcus thermophilus and Coprobacillus cateniformis). Ten of these bacteria are anaerobic and one (Streptococcus thermophilus) is facultative anaerobic. Several of these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, especially butyrate, which is used as an energy source by large intestine epithelial cells. Moreover, it modulates the immune response and hypersensitivity of the large intestine and decreases intestinal cell permeability and intestinal motility. These bacteria could be used as probiotics to improve these conditions. Protein-rich diets could increase the intestinal abundance of Alistipes, and plant-rich diet could increase the intestinal abundance of Prevotella spp., and consequently improve IBS and fatigue.

Keywords: Faecalibacterium prausnitzii; Alistipes spp.; diet; probiotics; short-chain fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butyrates
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / therapy


  • Butyrates

Supplementary concepts

  • Holdemanella biformis