Potential new therapeutic approaches for inflammatory bowel diseases may
involve using antifungals with probiotics
October 4, 2017
have determined that fungus may play a key role in chronic intestinal
inflammation disorders. They found that patients with Crohn’s disease tend to
have much higher levels of the fungus Candida tropicalis compared to their
healthy family members. A new review looks at these findings and provides
insights into potential new therapeutic approaches using antifungals and
probiotics in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as
Crohn’s disease (CD).
determined that fungus may play a key role in chronic intestinal inflammation
disorders. They found that patients with Crohn’s disease tend to have much
higher levels of the fungus Candida tropicalis compared to their healthy
family members. A new review published in Digestive and Liver Disease
looks at these findings and provides insights into potential new therapeutic
approaches using antifungals and probiotics in the treatment of inflammatory
bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease (CD).
gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to trillions of microorganisms, some
beneficial and others potentially harmful. Recent advances in science have
allowed us to identify the multitude of organisms inhabiting the GI tract and
parse out those that play a role in IBD,” explained lead author Mahmoud A.
Ghannoum, PhD, of the Center for Medical Mycology, Department of Dermatology,
Case Western Reserve University and, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center,
Cleveland, OH. “Unfortunately, most research has focused on studying only
the bacteria while overlooking a key player, fungus. In order to address this
issue, we have focused our efforts on studying the fungal community in the GI
tract known as the mycobiome.”
The review centers on a
first of its kind study in which researchers characterized the gut bacterial
microbiota (bacteriome) and fungal community (mycobiome) in a number of
families that had members with CD and healthy relatives. They then defined the
microbial interactions leading to microbial imbalance in the family members
suffering from CD. They found that family members with CD had fungal (Candida
tropicalis) and bacterial (Serratia marcescens and Escherichia
coli) imbalances in their gut’s microbiome. Interestingly, they showed that
these three organisms worked together to form robust digestive plaque biofilms
capable of exacerbating intestinal inflammation.
Although the relationship
between bacteria and fungi has been recognized not only in our gut, but in our
body at large, this study proved for the first time that bacteria and fungi
actually work together to exacerbate the inflammatory symptoms in CD. These
results provide insight into the roles of bacteria and fungi in CD and may lead
to the development of novel treatment approaches and diagnostic tests for CD
and other debilitating digestive issues.
treatments could include using antifungals and even probiotics that are
designed to balance both bacteria and fungi, while breaking down digestive
plaque biofilms. Antifungals will control the overgrowth of fungi, while
probiotics can help restore and maintain the balance of the microbiota, noted
discovery that bacteria and fungi both play a critical role in health and
disease has tremendous implications not only for understanding the disease
process, but also for development of potentially life changing treatments for
those who suffer from chronic digestive diseases,” concluded Dr Ghannoum.
Materials provided by Elsevier. Note:
Content may be edited for style and length.
1. Christopher L. Hager,
Mahmoud A. Ghannoum. The mycobiome: Role in health and disease, and as a
potential probiotic target in gastrointestinal disease. Digestive and
Liver Disease, 2017; DOI: 10.