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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 23. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001023. [Epub ahead of print]

Clinical and Microbiological Effect of a Multispecies Probiotic Supplementation in Celiac Patients With Persistent IBS-type Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicenter Trial.

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Department of Interdisciplinary Medicine.
Department of Soil, Plant and Food Science.
IRCCS "Saverio De Bellis," Castellana Grotte.
Gastroenterology Unit, PO Centrale Taranto, Taranto.
Department of Pediatrics, PO San Paolo, Bari.
Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, University of Bari Aldo Moro.
Faculty of Science and Technology, Piazza Università, Free University of Bozen, Bolzano, Italy.



The goals of this study were to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a probiotic mixture in patients with celiac disease (CD) with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-type symptoms despite a strict gluten-free diet (GFD).


About 30% of patients with CD adherent to a GFD suffer from IBS-type symptoms; a possible cause resides in the imbalances of the intestinal microbiota in CD. Probiotics may represent a potential treatment.


CD patients with IBS-type symptoms entered a prospective, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study. A 6-week treatment period was preceded by a 2-week run-in and followed by a 6-week follow-up phase. Clinical data were monitored throughout the study by validated questionnaires: IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS); Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS); Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSFS); and IBS Quality of Life Questionnaire (IBS-QOL). The fecal microbiota were assayed using plate counts and 16S rRNA gene-based analysis.


In total, 109 patients were randomized to probiotics (n=54) or placebo (n=55). IBS-SSS and GSRS decreased significantly in probiotics, as compared with placebo [(-15.9%±14.8% vs. 8.2%±25.9%; P<0.001) and (-19.8%±16.6% vs. 12.9%±31.6%; P<0.001)], respectively. Treatment success was significantly higher in patients receiving probiotics, as compared with placebo (15.3% vs. 3.8%; P<0.04). Presumptive lactic acid bacteria, Staphylococcus and Bifidobacterium, increased in patients receiving probiotic treatment. No adverse events were reported.


A 6-week probiotic treatment is effective in improving the severity of IBS-type symptoms, in CD patients on strict GFD, and is associated with a modification of gut microbiota, characterized by an increase of bifidobacteria.

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