Investigating the role of bacteria in abdominal pain and chronic constipation.

The bacteria living in our gastrointestinal system, the gut microbiome, play a key role in human health and disease. Multiple studies demonstrated altered gut microbiome in patients with constipation or abdominal pain but knowledge of a clear cause-effect relationship or underlying mechanism are lacking. We found previously that microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome induces altered gut function, low-grade inflammation and abdominal pain. Thus we aim at studying the regulatory role of microbiome in gut function, focusing on abdominal pain and constipation.
We will use mice that are completely devoid of bacteria, germ-free mice, and colonize their intestine with stool microbiome of well characterized patients with chronic abdominal pain, or severe constipation that developed after C. difficile infection. We will identify and isolate bacteria involved in gut dysfunction and study the underlying mechanisms. We will also explore potential treatments by modifying the microbiome composition and function using specific benefical bacteria (probiotics) or dietary components (fibers and flavonoids).
Our results will lead to better understanding of the role of microbiome in colonic motility and abdominal pain, discovery of biomarkers to identify those who benefit from microbiota-based interventions, and development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Faculty Supervisor:

Premysl Bercik


Yuichiro Nishihara;Fernando Vicentini;Zarwa Saqib;Vidhyalakshmi Mohan


Weston Family Microbiome Initiative




Other services (except public administration)


McMaster University



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