Fungi May Aggregate Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which can cause severe malabsorption, intestinal inflammation, excessive weight loss, and abdominal discomfort. 

Quirong Li et al. Dysbiosis of gut fungal microbiota is associated with mucosal inflammation in Crohn’s Disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 2014:48:513-23.
Jochen Klaus et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth mimicking acute flare as a pitfall in patients with Crohn’s disease. BMC Gastroenterology 2009;9:61

Crohn’s disease often involves skip lesions in which part of the intestine is severely inflamed while part is relatively normal. Earlier studies have reported that severe intestinal bacterial overgrowth is found in about 25% of Crohn’s disease patients. This intestinal bacterial overgrowth is associated with increased gut inflammation, diarrhea, and weight loss in Crohn’s patients. Recent research has also suggested intestinal fungi (molds and yeasts) growth may play an important role in aggravating Crohn’s disease.

A study of organisms in the intestines and feces was conducted in 19 Crohn’s disease patients and 7 healthy controls. Compared to the healthy controls, the Crohn’s disease patients had significantly higher levels of several mycotoxin-producing fungi including Candida species, Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus clavatus, and Gibberalla monilformis.
In addition, significantly higher levels of both fungi and inflammatory cytokines (such as tumor necrosis factor α, interferon-γ, and interleukin-10) were seen in the inflamed versus non-inflamed intestinal tissue of the Crohn’s patients.

Much more study is needed on the effects of bacteria and fungi on the development of Crohn’s Disease.


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