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Mucosal Immunol. 2014 Mar;7(2):210-4. doi: 10.1038/mi.2013.117. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

Fecal microbiota transplantation: effectiveness, complexities, and lingering concerns.

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Infectious Diseases Service and Lucille Castori Center for Microbes, Inflammation and Cancer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


The mammalian colon is home to a microbial ecosystem that enhances resistance to infection, stimulates mucosal immune defenses, synthesizes essential vitamins, and promotes caloric uptake by hydrolyzing complex carbohydrates. The bacterial populations inhabiting the gut are complex and vary between different individuals. Clinical and experimental studies reveal that the colonic microbiota can enhance or ameliorate intestinal and systemic inflammatory diseases. Because of its potential to enhance resistance to infection and to reduce inflammatory diseases, targeted manipulation of microbial populations is a growing focus of investigation. The most dramatic manipulation of the intestinal microbiota involves fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy donors to individuals with specific diseases. Remarkable clinical effectiveness of FMT has been demonstrated for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection and ongoing studies are investigating FMT for other diseases. Transplantation of complex microbial populations to recipients likely triggers mucosal immune responses that, depending on the microbiota composition and the recipient's genotype, could range from pro- to anti-inflammatory. The impact of FMT on the recipient immune system is complex and unpredictable. Ongoing discovery of commensal microbes and investigations of their impact on the host will lead to the development of new probiotic agents and microbial consortia that will eventually replace FMT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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