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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 435268, 9 pages
Review Article

Gut Microbial Flora, Prebiotics, and Probiotics in IBD: Their Current Usage and Utility

1Department of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology Division, Catholic University of Sacred Hearth, Policlinico “A. Gemelli” Hospital, lgo Gemelli 8, 00168 Roma, Italy
2Institute of Pathology, Catholic University of Sacred Hearth, lgo Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy

Received 19 April 2013; Revised 29 June 2013; Accepted 8 July 2013

Academic Editor: Michael Mahler

Copyright © 2013 Franco Scaldaferri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammatory bowel diseases are chronic diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, whose major forms are represented by Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Their etiology is still unclear, although several factors have been identified as major determinants for induction or relapses. Among these, the role of the “forgotten organ”, gut microbiota, has become more appreciated in recent years. The delicate symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiota and the host appears to be lost in IBD. In this perspective, several studies have been conducted to assess the role of prebiotics and probiotics in gut microbiota modulation. This is a minireview aimed to address in an easy format (simple questions-simple answers) some common issues about the theme. An update on the role of selected constituents of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of IBD is presented together with the analysis of the efficacy of gut microbiota modulation by prebiotics and probiotics administration in the management of IBD.