Front Nutr. 2022 Dec 8;9:1004084. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1004084. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: Impaired intestinal permeability and microbial dysbiosis are important pathophysiological mechanisms underlying irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). ReFerm®, also called Profermin®, is a postbiotic product of oat gruel fermented with Lactobacillus plantarum 299v. In this study, we investigated whether ReFerm® has a beneficial effect on the intestinal epithelial barrier function in patients with IBS.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty patients with moderate to severe IBS-diarrhoea (IBS-D) or IBS-mixed (IBS-M) were treated with enema containing ReFerm® or placebo. The patients underwent sigmoidoscopy with biopsies obtained from the distal colon at baseline and after 14 days of treatment with ReFerm® or placebo twice daily. The biopsies were mounted in Ussing chambers, and paracellular and transcellular permeabilities were measured for 120 min. In addition, the effects of ReFerm® or placebo on the epithelial barrier were investigated in vitro using Caco-2 cells.
RESULTS: ReFerm® reduced paracellular permeability (p < 0.05) and increased transepithelial resistance (TER) over time (p < 0.01), whereas the placebo had no significant effect in patients. In ReFerm®-treated Caco-2 cells, paracellular and transcellular permeabilities were decreased compared to the control (p < 0.05) and placebo (p < 0.01). TER was increased in Caco-2 ReFerm®-treated cells, and normalised TER was increased in ReFerm®-treated Caco-2 cells compared to control (p < 0.05) and placebo-treated (p < 0.05) cells.
CONCLUSION: ReFerm® significantly reduced paracellular permeability and improved TER in colonic biopsies collected from patients with IBS and in a Caco-2 cell model. Our results offer new insights into the potential benefits of ReFerm® in IBS management. Further studies are needed to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying the barrier-protective properties of ReFerm®.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: [https://clinicaltrials.gov/], identifier [NCT05475314].