Patients with Ulcerative Colitis Have a Distinct Gut Microbiome

Ulcerative Colitis vs. Crohn’s Disease

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a disease that affects the colon. Crohn’s Disease (CD), on the other hand, affects more parts of the gut.

In UC:

  • The large intestine is inflamed
  • Sores form on the wall of the colon
  • Sores fill with pus
  • Affects only the inner lining of the colon wall

In CD, any part of the gut can be inflamed (not just the colon). Additionally, this can happen in any layer of the gut, such as the mucosal or epithelial layers.

Bacteria & Imbalance

Different symptoms help to create a distinction between these two diseases, and so do the present bacteria in the gut. There are over 1000 different types of good bacteria living in our gut. Those good bacteria are together called the gut microbiome. When different amounts of bacteria become imbalanced, they can cause symptoms of illness like inflammation and pain. An imbalance of gut bacteria is called dysbiosis.When this imbalance goes unnoticed, it can cause diseases like UC.

The dysbiosis in CD is well known. Meanwhile the imbalances of gut bacteria in UC are unclear. One study looked at the gut bacteria in UC. They compared the bacteria they found to that in CD. The ultimate goal was to see how similar gut microbiomes were between these two diseases.

Overall, 127 patients were used in the study. Researchers studied by products made by bacteria present in the gut. The results showed that the bacteria in UC is very different from CD. Some bacteria, like Roseburia hominis and Faecalibacterium prausnitzi were very low in UC patients. This was surprising, because these bacteria are common in CD.

What This Means For Patients

Even though ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease symptoms are quite similar, the mechanism of disease is different. Thus, new research should be conducted to find treatments that tell us more about ulcerative colitis. It would be of benefit to determine what types of bacteria are active in ulcerative colitis. This can provide better options for patients in the future.

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