Treatment of active Crohn's Disease with an ordinary food-based diet that replicates exclusive enteral nutrition

Vaios Svolos, Richard Hansen, Ben Nichols, Christopher Quince, Umer Z. Ijaz, Rodanthi T. Papadopoulou, Christine A. Edwards, David Watson, Adel Alghamdi, Asker Brejnrod, Cecilia Ansalone, Hazel Duncan, Lisa Gervais, Rachel Tayler, Jonathan Salmond, Daniele Bolognini, Robert Klopfleisch, Daniel R. Gaya, Simon Milling, Richard K. RussellKonstantinos Gerasimidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Citations (Scopus)
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Background & Aims: Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is the only established dietary treatment for Crohn's disease (CD), but its acceptability is limited. There is a need for novel dietary treatments for CD. 

Methods: We evaluated the effects of an individualized food-based diet (CD-TREAT), with similar composition to EEN, on the gut microbiome, inflammation, and clinical response in a rat model, healthy adults, and children with relapsing CD. Twenty-five healthy adults randomly received EEN or CD-TREAT for 7 days, followed by a 14-day washout period, followed by the alternate diet. Fecal microbiome and metabolome were assessed before and after each diet. HLA-B7 and HLA-B27 transgenic rats with gut inflammation received EEN, CD-TREAT, or standard chow for 4 weeks. Fecal, luminal, and tissue microbiome, fecal metabolites, and gut inflammation were assessed. Five children with active CD activity received CD-TREAT and their clinical activity and calprotectin were evaluated after 8 weeks of treatment. 

Results: For healthy adults, CD-TREAT was easier to comply with and more acceptable than EEN. CD-TREAT induced similar effects to EEN (EEN vs CD-TREAT) on fecal microbiome composition, metabolome, mean total sulfide (increase 133.0 ± 80.5 vs 54.3 ± 47.0 nmol/g), pH (increase 1.3 ± 0.5 vs 0.9 ± 0.6), and the short-chain fatty acids (μmol/g) acetate (decrease 27.4 ± 22.6 vs 21.6 ± 20.4), propionate (decrease 5.7 ± 7.8 vs 5.2 ± 7.9), and butyrate (decrease 7.0 ± 7.4 vs 10.2 ± 8.5). In the rat model, CD-TREAT and EEN produced similar changes in bacterial load (decrease 0.3 ± 0.3 log 10 16S rRNA gene copies per gram), short-chain fatty acids, microbiome, and ileitis severity (mean histopathology score decreases of 1.25 for EEN [P =.015] and 1.0 for CD-TREAT [P =.044] vs chow). In children receiving CD-TREAT, 4 (80%) had a clinical response and 3 (60%) entered remission, with significant concurrent decreases in fecal calprotectin (mean decrease 918 ± 555 mg/kg; P =.002). 

Conclusion: CD-TREAT replicates EEN changes in the microbiome, decreases gut inflammation, is well tolerated, and is potentially effective in patients with active CD., numbers NCT02426567 and NCT03171246.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1354-1367.e6
Number of pages20
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Carbohydrate
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Microbiota
  • Pediatric Trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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