The effect of fecal microbiota transplantation on psychiatric symptoms among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, functional diarrhea and functional constipation: An open-label observational study

Shunya Kurokawa, Taishiro Kishimoto, Shinta Mizuno, Tatsuhiro Masaoka, Makoto Naganuma, Kuo ching Liang, Momoko Kitazawa, Moeko Nakashima, Chie Shindo, Wataru Suda, Masahira Hattori, Takanori Kanai, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


Backgrounds: The intestinal microbiota is considered as a potential common underpinning pathophysiology of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs) and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) has been reported to have therapeutic effects on diseases related to dysbiosis, but few studies have evaluated its effect on psychiatric symptoms. Methods: We followed 17 patients with either Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Functional Diarrhea (FDr) or Functional Constipation (FC) who underwent FMT for the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms and observation of psychiatric symptoms. Changes in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and subscale of sleep-related items, Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A) and Quick Inventory for Depressive Symptoms (QIDS) between baseline and 4 weeks after FMT, and relationship with the intestinal microbiota were measured. Results: At baseline, 12 out of 17 patients were rated with HAM-D ≥ 8. Significant improvement in HAM-D total and sleep subscale score, HAM-A and QIDS were observed (p = 0.007, p = 0.007, p = 0.01, p = 0.007, respectively). Baseline Shannon index indicated that microbiota showed lower diversity in patients with HAM-D ≥ 8 compared to those of healthy donors and patients with HAM-D < 8. There was a significant correlation between baseline Shannon index and HAM-D score, and a correlation between Shannon index change and HAM-D improvement after FMT. Limitations: The small sample size with no control group. Conclusions: Our results suggest that depression and anxiety symptoms may be improved by FMT regardless of gastrointestinal symptom change in patients with IBS, FDr and FC, and the increase of microbiota diversity may help to improve patient's mood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-512
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1



  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fecal microbiota transplant
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this