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Faecal Metabolomics in Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review

Jasmijn Z Jagt, Charlotte M Verburgt, Ralph de Vries, Nanne K H de Boer, Marc A Benninga, Wouter J de Jonge, Johan E van Limbergen, Tim G J de Meij Author Notes

Published in June 2022, Journal of Crohn's and Colitis.


Abstract


Background and Aims

Paediatric inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] is characterized by altered immunological and metabolic pathways. Metabolomics may therefore increase pathophysiological understanding and could develop into characterization of biomarkers for diagnosis and IBD treatment response. However, no uniform metabolomic profiles have been identified to date. This systematic review aimed to identify faecal metabolomic signatures in paediatric IBD vs controls, and to describe metabolites associated with disease activity and treatment response.


Methods A literature search was performed in Embase, Medline, Web of Science and Cochrane Library. Studies assessing faecal metabolomics in paediatric patients < 18 years with IBD [de novo, active, inactive] with comparative groups [IBD vs non-IBD; responders vs non-responders] were included. The quality of included studies was assessed according to the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale.


Results Nineteen studies were included [540 patients with IBD, 386 controls], assessing faecal short-chain fatty acids [SCFA] [five studies], amino acids [AA] [ten studies], bile acids [BA] [eight studies] and other metabolites [nine studies] using various methodologies. Significantly increased levels of AA [particularly phenylalanine], primary BA and lower levels of secondary BA were described in paediatric IBD compared to controls. Faecal SCFA results varied across studies. Additionally, responders and non-responders to exclusive enteral nutrition and infliximab showed differences in baseline faecal metabolites [based on BA, AA].


Conclusions

This systematic review provides evidence for distinct faecal metabolomic profiles in paediatric IBD. However, results varied across studies, possibly due to differences in study design and applied analytical techniques. Faecal metabolomics could provide more insight into host–microbial interactions in IBD, but further studies with standardized methodologies and reporting are needed.

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