Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 9, 88-96 (February 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2011.244

Subject Categories: Inflammatory bowel disease | Therapy

Fecal microbiota transplantation and emerging applications

Thomas J. Borody & Alexander Khoruts  About the authors


Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has been utilized sporadically for over 50 years. In the past few years, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) epidemics in the USA and Europe have resulted in the increased use of FMT, given its high efficacy in eradicating CDI and associated symptoms. As more patients request treatment and more clinics incorporate FMT into their treatment repertoire, reports of applications outside of CDI are emerging, paving the way for the use of FMT in several idiopathic conditions. Interest in this therapy has largely been driven by new research into the gut microbiota, which is now beginning to be appreciated as a microbial human organ with important roles in immunity and energy metabolism. This new paradigm raises the possibility that many diseases result, at least partially, from microbiota-related dysfunction. This understanding invites the investigation of FMT for several disorders, including IBD, IBS, the metabolic syndrome, neurodevelopmental disorders, autoimmune diseases and allergic diseases, among others. The field of microbiota-related disorders is currently in its infancy; it certainly is an exciting time in the burgeoning science of FMT and we expect to see new and previously unexpected applications in the near future. Well-designed and well-executed randomized trials are now needed to further define these microbiota-related conditions.

Author affiliations

T. J. Borody & A. Khoruts
Centre for Digestive Diseases, Level 1, 229 Great North Road, Sydney, NSW 2046, Australia (T. J. Borody). Department of Medicine, Center for Immunology, Room 3–184, Medical Biosciences Building, 2101 6th S. E., Minneapolis, MN 55416, USA (A. Khoruts).

Correspondence to: T. J. Borody

Published online 20 December 2011