Annelies Geirnaert, Marta Calatayud, Charlotte Grootaert, Debby Laukens, Sarah Devriese, Guy Smagghe, Martine De Vos, Nico Boon & Tom Van de Wiele
The management of the dysbiosed gut microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is gaining more attention as a novel target to control this disease. Probiotic treatment with butyrate-producing bacteria has therapeutic potential since these bacteria are depleted in IBD patients and butyrate has beneficial effects on epithelial barrier function and overall gut health. However, studies assessing the effect of probiotic supplementation on microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions are rare. In this study, butyrate- producing bacteria (three mono-species and one multispecies mix) were supplemented to the fecal microbial communities of ten Crohn’s disease (CD) patients in an in vitro system simulating the mucus- and lumen-associated microbiota. Effects of supplementation in short-chain fatty acid levels, bacterial colonization of mucus environment and intestinal epithelial barrier function were evaluated. Treatment with F. prausnitzii and the mix of six butyrate-producers significantly increased the butyrate production by 5–11 mol%, and colonization capacity in mucus- and lumen-associated CD microbiota. Treatments with B. pullicaecorum 25-3T and the mix of six butyrate- producers improved epithelial barrier integrity in vitro. This study provides proof-of- concept data for the therapeutic potential of butyrate-producing bacteria in CD and supports the future preclinical development of a probiotic product containing butyrate- producing species.