Several researchers propose the creation of a new type of bank at the national level:a human stool bank. The idea would be to deposit a faecal sample relatively early in life. This could then be stored and used later with the aim of restoring the balance of the intestinal microbiota if necessary.
Our intestines contain billions of microorganisms that play a crucial role in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. They also help prevent certain diseases. Over time, the aging process causes dramatic alterations in this gut microbiota. We also know that industrial advances in recent decades have been associated with large-scale flora changes.
Also, for several years, researchers have been exploring the potential of the fecal transplant , especially to cure colon cancer or alcoholism. A few years ago, a stool transplant even made it possible to rejuvenate the brains of old mice.
In human patients, the technique is currently mainly used to treat conditions such as Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) and inflammatory bowel disease . However, experts believe the method could eventually be used to fight a wider range of diseases.
The idea of transplanting stool from a donor to a recipient has its advantages. However, some transfers may not be suitable. Transferring the entire "ancestral" intestinal microbial community from a donor in a non-industrial society to an "industrial" recipient could, for example, lead to a serious shift, and therefore produce potentially harmful consequences.
Instead, emerging studies suggest that transplantation of autologous fecal microbiota , using recipients' own stool specimens collected at a younger age , might be a better solution (or at least an alternative). This could potentially lead to the idea of rejuvenating the human gut microbiota.
To do this, we should then collect stool samples from people when they are young and healthy, and then store them for possible future use . This proposal comes from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
Such an approach could naturally lead to serious challenges, including how to properly store stool specimens safely in long-term cryopreservation. Nevertheless, the benefits could be enormous. "Autologous stool transplants have the potential to treat autoimmune diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity and even heart disease and aging “, note the authors. "We hope this article will inspire long-term trials ".
Study details are reported in Trends in Molecular Medicine.