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Beneficial Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, Synbiotics, and Psychobiotics in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Wasilewski, Andrzej MSc*; Zielińska, Marta MSc*; Storr, Martin PhD; Fichna, Jakub PhD*,‡

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000364
Basic Science Review Article

Abstract: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation of the small and large intestine and primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Although the etiology of IBD is not fully understood, it is believed to result from the interaction of genetic, immunological, and environmental factors, including gut microbiota. Recent studies have shown a correlation between changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota and IBD. Moreover, it has been suggested that probiotics and prebiotics influence the balance of beneficial and detrimental bacterial species, and thereby determine homeostasis versus inflammatory conditions. In this review, we focus on recent advances in the understanding of the role of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics in functions of the gastrointestinal tract and the induction and maintenance of IBD remission. We also discuss the role of psychobiotics, which constitute a novel class of psychotropic agents that affect the central nervous system by influencing gut microbiota.

Article first published online 27 March 2015.

*Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland;

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Munich, Germany; and

Department of Neuropeptides, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

Reprints: Jakub Fichna, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Mazowiecka 6/8, 92-215 Lodz, Poland (e-mail:

Supported by the Iuventus Plus program of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (#0107/IP1/2013/72 to J.F.) and grants from the Medical University of Lodz (#503/1–156-04/503–01 to J.F.) and National Science Centre (#UMO-2013/11/B/NZ7/01301) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG STO9-1 to M.S.).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received January 09, 2015

Accepted January 16, 2015

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.