Faecal microbiota transplantation for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection: current promise and future needs

Mark J Koenigsknecht, Vincent B Young
Current Opinion in Gastroenterology 2013, 29 (6): 628-32

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The use of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has increased rapidly over the past few years. In this review, we highlight clinical studies of FMT for treatment of recurrent CDI and discuss the safety, standardization and future of this treatment option. The major risk factor for CDI is prior antibiotic use, which results in an altered state of the gut microbiota characterized by decreased microbial diversity. This altered gut microbiota increases the patient's susceptibility to CDI. In patients with recurrent CDI, the microbiota remains in a state with decreased diversity, and FMT from a healthy individual restores the gut microbiota and subsequently colonization resistance against the pathogen.

RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have shown the success rate for FMT as treatment for recurrent CDI being greater than 90%. Standardized, frozen preparations of faeces can be used, which increases the availability of faeces for FMT and decreases the cost of screening individual donors. In addition, there have been recent advances in identifying a defined microbial community isolated from faeces that can restore colonization resistance against C. difficile.

SUMMARY: The use of FMT is a successful treatment for recurrent CDI when primary treatment options have failed. However, more work needs to define potential long-term consequences of this treatment and understand how specific members of the gut microbiota can restore colonization resistance against C. difficile.

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