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Intestinal Microbiota: Its Role in Digestive Diseases

Bustos Fernandez, Luis M. MD*; Lasa, Juan S. MD*; Man, Fernando MD

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: September 2014 - Volume 48 - Issue 8 - p 657–666
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000153
WGO Review Article

It is now well known that intestinal microbiota exerts not only several physiological functions, but has also been implied in the mechanisms of many conditions, both intestinal and extraintestinal. These advances, to the best of our knowledge, have been made possible by the development of new ways of studying gut flora. Metagenomics, the study of genetic material taken directly from environmental samples, avoiding individual culture, has become an excellent tool to study the human microbiota. Therefore, it has demonstrated an association between an altered intestinal microbiota and inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, perhaps the most extensively studied conditions associated with this particular subject. However, microbiota has a potential role in the development of other diseases; their manifestations are not confined to the intestine only. In this article, an extensive updated review is conducted on the role intestinal microbiota has in health and in different diseases. Focus is made on the following conditions: inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, hepatic encephalopathy, and obesity.

*Instituto Bustos Fernandez

Gastro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Reprints: Luis M. Bustos Fernandez, MD, Echeverria 2771, Zip Code: 1428, Buenos Aires, Argentina (e-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins