Successful therapy of Clostridium difficile infection with fecal microbiota transplantation

P C Konturek, J Koziel, W Dieterich, D Haziri, S Wirtz, I Glowczyk, K Konturek, M F Neurath, Y Zopf
Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology: An Official Journal of the Polish Physiological Society 2016, 67 (6): 859-866
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea and represents an important burden for healthcare worldwide. Symptoms of severe CDI include watery, foul-smelling diarrhea, peripheral leucocytosis, increased C-reactive protein (CRP), acute renal failure, hypotension and pseudomembranous colitis. Recent studies indicate that the main cause of CDI is dysbiosis, an imbalance in the normal gut microbiota. The restoration of a healthy gut microbiota composition via fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) recently became more popular. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of FMT on the healing of CDI and to analyze the changes in the level of pro-inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, fecal calprotectin) and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Eighteen patients with CDI were included in our study (6 males and 12 females) with recurrent and/or severe CDI. The FMT was performed in 17 patients using colonoscopy, including 16 patients receiving a one-time FMT and 1 patient who needed 2 additional FMTs. One patient was treated with a single round of FMT using push-and-pull enteroscopy. In all CDI patients, before and 3 weeks after FMT, the following parameters were analyzed: C-reactive protein, fecal calprotectin, and plasma interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). In addition, the plasma level of LL-37, a cathelicidine peptide was assessed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) before and 3 months after FMT. Finally, in 7 patients a microbiome analysis was performed by sequencing of 16SrRNA in stool probes obtained before and 3 weeks after FMT. The healing rate of CDI was 94%. In all successfully treated patients no recurrent CDI was observed during follow-up (16 months). The serum level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-12) significantly decreased after FMT. Similarly, CRP and fecal calprotectin normalized after FMT. 3 months after FMT a significant increase of LL-37 in the plasma of successfully treated patients was monitored. The sequencing analysis demonstrated an elevated abundance of beneficial bacterial species such as Lactobacillaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Desulfovibrionaceae, Sutterellaceae and Porphyromonodacea after FMT. No serious side effects were observed. We concluded that FMT represented a very effective and safe treatment of recurrent and/or severe CDI and led to favorable shifts in the composition of gut microbiome.

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