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Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and pouchitis after ileal pouch anal anastomosis in ulcerative colitis patients are often refractory to standard therapy. Over the last decade, the rational to use probiotics and its beneficial efficacy in the treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasingly under scrutiny. Although it has become clear that intestinal epithelial-mucosal immune interactions and enteric bacteria play a critical role in the development of IBD, the substantial clinical efficacy of probiotics in these disorders is less evident. This review outlines the clinical studies regarding probiotics before October 2007. These studies formed the foundation of probiotic clinical trials in IBD, but they also indicated the need of larger and better-controlled studies than the past experimental approaches. Furthermore, this review also examines in-depth the probiotic clinical trials published between 2007 and December 2010, providing new insights into the role of probiotics for inducing and maintaining remission of IBD, and highlighting some of the breakthroughs, especially regarding induction of remission for ulcerative colitis.

(C) 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.