- Health Sciences
- Medical bacteriology, mycology, parasitology
- Use of fecal transplants to treat intestinal disorders
Use of fecal transplants to treat intestinal disorders
Harley, John P. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
- Historical aspect
- The human gut
- Causative agent
- The disease (pathogenesis)
- Fecal transplants as a possible cure
- Fecal transplant regulation
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is teeming with a rich diversity of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, and fungi), whose roles in health and disease are under intense scrutiny. These microorganisms outnumber the normal cells of a human body by 10 to 1, and they contain nearly 350 times more genetic information. How they influence the human body is an area of active investigation throughout the world. One such microorganism is the bacterium Clostridium difficile. This bacterium is normally held in check and its numbers kept low by the other gut microflora (normal microbiota or microbiome). Recently, however, there has been an alarming increase in the number of humans developing C. difficile infections. Often, the application of antibiotic therapy eliminates the “good” bacteria found in the human gut, thereby allowing antibiotic-resistant C. difficile to flourish and grow unchecked. This bacterium can cause colitis (inflammation of the last part of the gut, that is, the colon), which can be life-threatening. A small but growing number of physicians are turning to fecal transplants, also called fecal bacteriotherapy, as a last-resort option for treating this colitis.
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