ECCO Grant Study Synopsis: Emma Paulides

Emma Paulides, ECCO Grant Awardee

Predictive (longitudinal) gut microbial markers for the diagnosis of fatigue in IBD patients

Emma Paulides
© Emma Paulides

Aim of research

Fatigue is an important clinical problem in patients with IBD in remission and those with active disease. It results in a decrease in quality of life and impaired work productivity. However, little is known about its aetiology and pathophysiology, which impairs our ability to effectively treat this symptom. Evidence suggests that the intestinal microbiota act as a mediator in the bidirectional communication between the nervous system and the gut. Recent research by our group demonstrated a strong and statistically significant correlation between the microbiome and increasing fatigue scores. However, little is known about the changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiome and their influence on the diagnosis and course of fatigue.

Our aim is to identify the underlying biological mechanisms involved in IBD-related fatigue, especially the influence of longitudinal changes in the intestinal microbiome, and to reveal IBD fatigue-specific patterns.

Methodology/experiments that will be used

This study will employ a longitudinal prospective non-interventional design whereby a cohort of 80 Crohn’s Disease (CD) patients in remission will be followed up for a period of two years. Variables will be measured every three months, using questionnaires and blood and faecal samples. The eligibility criteria will be patients with CD in remission, as confirmed by endoscopy and laboratory tests, who are aged 18 years or older and who visit the outpatient clinic of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the Erasmus MC.

Anticipated main impact

This study will provide important new fundamental insights and leads for designing rational novel intervention strategies to improve quality of life. Gut microbial markers can be helpful to quantify the burden of fatigue and may assist in the development of microbiome-directed therapy.

Proposed timeline

Patients will be followed for a period of two years, with repeated measurements at different timepoints.

Posted in ECCO News, SciCom, Committee News, Fellowships & Grants Synopsis Reports, Volume 15, Issue 4