This week on BBS! VSL#3 proves useful for the treatment of children with fatty liver disease, Bumblebee microbiota helps prevent parasite infections, and frozen fecal bacteria are an option for fecal microbiota transplantation.
Probiotics for Pediatric Fatty Liver Disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by the deposition of fat in the liver, and it is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Previous studies indicated that probiotics could be helpful for adult patients, however, it was unknown if the same results could be achieved in children. To investigate if probiotics could be useful for children with NAFLD, Dr. A. Alisi of “Bambino Gesu” Children’s Hospital in Rome offered children with NAFLD the probiotic VSL#3. After four months of treatment, the livers of the children were analyzed, and it was found that the children with VSL#3 had significant reductions in liver fat deposits.
Bumblebee Microbiota Staves off Infection
Like humans, insects also depend on gut bacteria for optimal health. To determine the relationship between changes in the bumblebee’s intestinal bacteria and disease, Dr. Daniel P. Cariveau of Rutgers University looked at the microbiota composition of different bumblebee species and their susceptibility to a common parasite. He found that most bumblebees share a “core” set of bacteria species. Susceptibility to parasites increased when both the abundance of core bacteria was low and when the variety of non-core species was increased.
Frozen Fecal Bacteria for Clostridium Difficile
Clostridium difficile infection, which is the main culprit in antibiotic associated diarrhea, is often treated with high doses of antibiotics. A new method of treatment, which is proving successful, is fecal microbiota transplantation. This method transfers bacteria collected from healthy donor stools to patients suffering from C. difficile infection. The method traditionally uses fresh donor stools, however, this is not always possible to arrange. To find a solution, Dr. Ilan Youngster of Massachusetts General Hospital examined the possibility of using bacteria from frozen stool samples. He found that this method could result in an overall cure rate of 90%. This could make the technique more attractive to many practitioners and patients.
- Youngster I, Sauk J, Pindar C, Wilson RG, Kaplan JL, Smith MB et al. Fecal Microbiota Transplant for Relapsing Clostridium difficile Infection Using a Frozen Inoculum From Unrelated Donors: A Randomized, Open-Label, Controlled Pilot Study. Clin Infect Dis 2014.
- Cariveau DP, Elijah Powell J, Koch H, Winfree R, Moran NA. Variation in gut microbial communities and its association with pathogen infection in wild bumble bees (Bombus). ISME J 2014.
- Alisi A, Bedogni G, Baviera G, Giorgio V, Porro E, Paris C et al. Randomised clinical trial: the beneficial effects of VSL#3 in obese children with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014.