Could faecal microbiota transplantation be used to tackle asthma?

©iStock/Bubutu

Faecal microbiota transplantation is arguably more effective in managing asthma than current treatments and even probiotics, say two scientists, who call for more research into its use.

In an opinion piece, the team identify faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a ‘natural’ treatment that directly addresses the chronic inflammation associated with the condition.

Its inexpensive implementation is another plus point as the scientists point to an imbalance within the gut microbiota that brings on the onset of asthma – a condition that it is predicted to increase by 100 million people by 2025.

Drs Yongbo Kang and Yue Cai from Kunming University of Science and Technology in China stated the case for FMT since “a faecal infusion overcomes the intrinsic quantitative gap of probiotics”.

“Oral probiotic doses are usually more than three orders of magnitude lower than the 100 trillion native micro-organisms of the large bowel,” they added.

“In addition, the administration of faecal flora establishes a durable alteration of the recipient's gut microbiota, while probiotics are able to colonise the gut lumen only for a temporary period.”

FMT can play a major role in addressing the inflammatory immune response that characterises conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autoimmune diseases as well as proving efficacious in recurrent bacterial infections.

Environmental factors in asthma onset

Suggestions that genetic factors are only partially responsible for the risk of developing asthma has led to questions as to how environmental factors fit into disease onset and progression.

This theory gains credence as asthma often begins in early childhood, when the gut microbiota is primarily developed.

“Careful RNA gene sequencing showed that the patient's stool was strikingly similar to the donor stool after transplant suggesting that the donor's stool had helped restore a healthy colonic microbiome,” the team highlighted.

“Accounting our microbial flora as a bodily organ let the interpretation of FMT change from being considered a mere injection of faeces to becoming a true organ transplantation.”

FMT is only just coming to the forefront as a realistic approach in the management of asthma and other conditions.

Available data in this field remain limited and recent technological developments permit the identification of microbes and their products using culture-independent molecular detection techniques.

Faecal biobanks

The concept of faecal biobanks in which faecal matter is collected and stored ready for transplantation into a new host has been mooted for some time now with Europe in particular taking a lead in its conception and implementation.

In addition to the Stool Bank East based in Leiden, Netherlands, the Taymount Clinic (Hitchin, UK) have started banking patients' own stool for future medical use.

The US has also made gains in this field with biobanks forming part of the OpenBiome project, located in Massachusetts, US along with AdvancingBio (Mather, CA, USA), and Melbourne FMT based in Australia.

Source: Allergologia et Immunopathologia
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2017.04.008
“Future prospect of faecal microbiota transplantation as a potential therapy in asthma.”
Authors: Y Kang. Y Cai.

Related News

The best known example of faecal microbial transplant (FMT) is the treatment of clostridium difficile infections. ©iStock/igorr1

Making a deposit: Faecal biobanks have ‘great potential’

The use of capsules simplifies the procedure immensely, potentially making it accessible to a greater population, say researchers.

Capsules are ‘as effective’ for faecal transplant delivery

Agave increases bifidobacteria and lactobacilli - and bloating and flatulence, researchers find. Photo credit: Ángel Hernansáez

Agave prebiotic significantly increases some faecal friendly bacteria, say researchers

The findings make a compelling case for FMTs to be recognised as an effective individual treatment for C. difficile infection. ©iStock

Waste not want not: Faecal transplants effective against C.difficile infection

Oats should be looked at as a possible prebiotic, say researchers

Porridge's prebiotic potential previewed by Nordic researchers

The research adds to mounting evidence that gut bacteria has a larger say in weight gain than previously thought.©iStock

Bacteria in faeces may determine body fat levels, study concludes

Researchers use Nescafé coffee to measure impact on intestinal bacteria

Coffee polyphenol may improve gut health: Study

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.