Microbial Imbalance and IBD Symptoms

Gut microbiota can have a direct impact on the GI immune system and development of inflammation.2,3,8,9 Metabolic products synthesized by gut microbiota can also have both positive and negative effects on epithelial barrier integrity.8,9

In IBD, some patients have8,9:

  • A reduction in butyrate-producing gut bacteria, which help maintain barrier integrity
  • An increase in bacteria that synthesize products or secrete toxins that can disrupt the epithelial cells and barrier integrity

Disruption in epithelial barrier integrity can increase microbial penetration and perpetuate the local immune response in patients with IBD.2,4

icon of knife and fork crossed
icon of probiotic

Adapted, with permission, from: Zuo T, Ng SC. The gut microbiota in the pathogenesis and therapeutics of inflammatory bowel disease. Front Microbiol. 2018;(9)2247:1-13.

IBD = inflammatory bowel disease
GI = gastrointestinal


  1. Somineni HK, Kugathasan S. The microbiome in patients with inflammatory disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;17(2):243-255.
  2. Zuo T, Ng SC. The gut microbiota in the pathogenesis and therapeutics of inflammatory bowel disease. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:2247.
  3. Weingarden AR, Vaughn BP. Intestinal microbiota, fecal microbiota transplantation, and inflammatory bowel disease. Gut Microbes. 2017;8(3):238-252.
  4. Yu LC. Microbiota dysbiosis and barrier dysfunction in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancers: exploring a common ground hypothesis. J Biomed Sci. 2018;25(1):79.
  5. Casén C, Vebø HC, Sekelja M, et al. Deviations in human gut microbiota: a novel diagnostic test for determining dysbiosis in patients with IBS or IBD. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015;42(1):71-83.
  6. Frank DN, St Amand AL, Feldman RA, Boedeker EC, Harpaz N, Pace NR. Molecular-phylogenetic characterization of microbial community imbalances in human inflammatory bowel diseases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104(34):13780-13785.
  7. Halfvarson J, Brislawn CJ, Lamendella R, et al. Dynamics of the human gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease. Nat Microbiol. 2017;2:17004.
  8. Morgan XC, Tickle TL, Sokol H, et al. Dysfunction of the intestinal microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease and treatment. Genome Biol. 2012;13(9):R79.
  9. Li J, Butcher J, Mack D, Stintzi A. Functional impacts of the intestinal microbiome in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015;21(1):139-153.
  10. Sartor RB, Wu GD. Roles for intestinal bacteria, viruses, and fungi in pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases and therapeutic approaches. Gastroenterology. 2017;152(2):327-339.

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