Clinical trial: the microbiological and immunological effects of synbiotic consumption - a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study in active Crohn's disease

H. Steed, G. T. Macfarlane, K. L. Blackett, B. Bahrami, N. Reynolds, S. V. Walsh, J. H. Cummings, S. Macfarlane

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    Crohn's disease is an inflammatory illness in which the immune response against gut microorganisms is believed to drive an abnormal immune response. Consequently, modification of mucosal bacterial communities, and the immune effects they elicit, might be used to modify the disease state.


    To investigate the effects of synbiotic consumption on disease processes in patients with Crohn's disease.


    A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial was conducted involving 35 patients with active Crohn's disease, using a synbiotic comprising Bifidobacterium longum and Synergy 1. Clinical status was scored and rectal biopsies were collected at the start, and at 3- and 6-month intervals. Transcription levels of immune markers and mucosal bacterial 16S rRNA gene copy numbers were quantified using real-time PCR.


    Significant improvements in clinical outcomes occurred with synbiotic consumption, with reductions in both Crohn's disease activity indices (P = 0.020) and histological scores (P = 0.018). The synbiotic had little effect on mucosal IL-18, INF-gamma and IL-1 beta; however, significant reductions occurred in TNF-alpha expression in synbiotic patients at 3 months (P = 0.041), although not at 6 months. Mucosal bifidobacteria proliferated in synbiotic patients.


    Synbiotic consumption was effective in improving clinical symptoms in patients with active Crohn's disease.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)872-883
    Number of pages12
    JournalAlimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Polymerase chain reaction
    • Real time PCR
    • Fecal samples
    • Bacteria
    • Mucosal
    • Therapy
    • Colitis
    • Flora
    • Quantitation

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