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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;65(4):453-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2008.03096.x. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Probiotics and prebiotics in inflammatory bowel disease: microflora 'on the scope'.

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Second Department of Surgery, General Hospital of Nikea, Piraeus, Greece [corrected]

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  • Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;66(2):339.


The intestinal microflora is a large bacterial community that colonizes the gut, with a metabolic activity equal to an organ and various functions that affect the physiology and pathology of the host's mucosal immune system. Intestinal bacteria are useful in promotion of human health, but certain components of microflora, in genetically susceptible individuals, contribute to various pathological disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease. Clinical and experimental observations indicate an imbalance in protective and harmful microflora components in these disorders. Manipulation of gut flora to enhance its protective and beneficial role represents a promising field of new therapeutic strategies of inflammatory bowel disease. In this review, we discuss the implication of gut flora in the intestinal inflammation that justifies the role of probiotics and prebiotics in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and we address the evidence for therapeutic benefits from their use in experimental models of colitis and clinical trials.

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