Current views on the use of probiotics in begnign diseases of the large intestine

Authors Maria Tzouvala, D.G. Karamanolis.


Manipulation of the bacterial intestinal microflora with
probiotics, which are living micro-organisms, appears to
be an appealing therapeutic alternative for certain gastrointestinal
diseases. Probiotics are considered to exert
antimicrobial activities, immunomodulation and production
of nutrients of special importance to the intestine. So
far, most of the data on their use have been derived from
the studies of the bacterium Lactobacillus casei sp rhamnosus
and the non-pathogenic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
Recent data, suggest a potential beneficial role of probiotics
in reducing the severity and duration of rotavirus enteritis
in children, preventing travelers and antibiotic-associated
diarrhea, and reducing the rate of relapse of
Clostridium difficile colitis. The implication of luminal bacterial
flora in the pathogenesis of Inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD), has been the rationale, to investigate the role of
probiotics in animal models and subsequently in clinical
studies. Although results are preliminary, a promising effect
of these agents has been suggested in the treatment of
IBD. Probiotics are currently investigated in Irritable Bowel
Syndrome, as well. Ultimately, well designed, double-blind,
placebo-controlled studies of efficacy, in addition to prudent
assessment of safety are required, to establish the
potential therapeutic role of these biologic agents in gastrointestinal
diseases. Key words: Probiotics, Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces boulardii,
Clostridium difficile colitis, antibiotic-associated diarrhea,
travelers diarrhea, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable
Bowel Syndrome.
Current views