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New Research on Microscopic Colitis


A review on treatment, barrier function, and the microbiota
By Winclove Researchers & Partners

Microscopic colitis (MC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, mostly prevalent in women over 60 years in age.  Research suggests that the microbiota may influence the development of the disease. A recent review by Wojciech Marlicz et al. and Saskia van Hemert (Winclove Probiotics) summarizes the current research on  MC and the possible role of probiotics for treatment.

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Microscopic Colitis 

MC patients commonly present chronic, non-bloody watery diarrhoea. Some, however, may suffer from constipation, abdominal pain, or remain symptom free. Although the cause of MC is unknown, it seems that mucosal inflammation, gut barrier alterations and the microbiome might influence the development of the disease. 



Current treatment of MC

Treatment of MC aims to improve the quality of life and health. Currently the primary treatment is budesonide. Response rates to budesonide are high at about 80%. Unfortunately, relapses are often experienced (60-80%) when treatment is terminated. Patients in remission can also still suffer from persisting symptoms such as abdominal pain and fatigue.



There are two types of microscopic colitis:


 Collagenous colitis
 Lymphocytic colitis


The symptoms and treatments of  both types are the same, but the tissues  look different under a microscope


The microbiota and gut barrier in MC

An increased permeability of the epithelial barrier is associated with many gastrointestinal disorders, including MC. Inflammation influences the intestinal permeability and is widely linked to MC. Multiple studies have also indicated the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other immune response factors in MC patients. It therefore comes as no surprise that an increased intestinal permeability is observed in MC patients.    



Probiotics for microbiota management

A possible way to interact with the microbiota is by intake of probiotics. Many beneficial effects that might influence MC management have already been found. These include:   

 Protective effect on the epithelial barrier function in pouchitis patients

 Reduced stool frequency and

improved consistency in collagenous colitis patients 

 Short-term clinical response and improvement of MC symptoms


From the current research there are significant indications that probiotics could be beneficial to improve life quality of MC patients, and help with management of the disease. This review presents important first indications for successful use of probiotics in MC patients. 


Read more about probiotics and MC on Winclove's website 




Microscopic colitis

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