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Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):252-8. doi: 10.1159/000228558. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

The microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease in different age groups.

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  • 1Pediatric Gastroenterology and Liver Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Sapienza University of Rome, IT-00161 Rome, Italy.



Many efforts were made in the past decades to assess the role of gut microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), leading to the hypothesis that an altered microbial composition, other than the presence of a specific pathogen, could be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. On the other hand, existing differences in gut microbial community between distinct classes of age make sense of an increasing research in microbial shifts in IBD.


Cultural, molecular, metabolomic and metagenomic approaches are trying to define the human gut microbiota in different age groups.


An increase in anaerobic bacteria (Bacteroidesvulgatus, Streptococcus faecalis) was observed in adult IBD, whereas an increase in aerobic and facultative-anaerobic (Escherichia coli) was found in pediatric IBD. Overall higher bacterial cell counts were observed in IBD, jointly with a general loss of biodiversity and a preponderance of Bacteroidetes and a parallel decrease of Firmicutes phylum: a predominance of potential harmful members of Proteobacteria (E. coli) and low abundance of beneficial species (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii) was also reported in pediatric and adult age groups, respectively. Microbial community of elderly subjects contains a wider range of different species than those of children and adults, both in healthy and IBD status.

Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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