Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 817–822 | Cite as

Fecal β-D-Galactosidase Production and Bifidobacteria Are Decreased in Crohn's Disease

  • C. Favier
  • C. Neut
  • C. Mizon
  • A. Cortot
  • J. F. Colombel
  • J. Mizon


Digestive bacterial microflora play a major rolein the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). Bacterialenzyme activities, especially β-D-galactosidase,are decreased in fecal extracts from CD patients. We hypothesized that an alteration of thecolonic flora might be responsible for this decrease.Indeed, we demonstrate that β-D-galactosidaseproduction in supernates of anaerobic cultures wassignificantly (P < 0.01) reduced in feces from patientswith active Crohn's disease (N = 7), when compared tohealthy controls (N = 8). Therefore using X-gal andselective media, we enumerated bacteria able to releaseβ-D-galactosidase in feces from patients with active (N = 16) orquiescent disease (N = 5) and healthy controls (N = 14).Bifidobacteria numbers were significantly reduced inpatients (P < 0.01 for active; P < 0.02 forquiescent disease) whereas Bacteroides and Lactobacilli countsremained unchanged. β-D-Galactosidase activity andBifidobacteria counts were significantly correlated (P< 0.03). Bifidobacteria are regarded as beneficial for the host. The reduction in Bifidobacteriais responsible for decreased β-D-galactosidaseactivity. Thus oral administration of prebiotics thatpromote their growth might have potential therapeutic interest.



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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Favier
  • C. Neut
  • C. Mizon
  • A. Cortot
  • J. F. Colombel
  • J. Mizon

There are no affiliations available

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