Clostridium difficile

Summary: Despite being treated as an ongoing tolerable infection, C. difficile can kill monkeys injected with the toxin.

I seem to be in much demand this week, but I thought I would take a moment to compile a bit of follow up information for you. For my favorite bug, I'm including a study on its uses against Clostridium diarrhea. The brand I use is SBC from Douglas Labs that I get wholesale from Emerson Ecologics 18006544432 (Now Fullscript on my home page). As a practitioner you should be able to get it wholesale, and/or generate it fresh in large batches through making Kombucha tea.

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20944. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Prebiotic effects of wheat arabinoxylan related to the increase in bifidobacteria, Roseburia and Bacteroides/Prevotella in diet-induced obese mice.

Neyrinck AM, Possemiers S, Druart C, Van de Wiele T, De Backer F, Cani PD, Larondelle Y, Delzenne NM.

Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.



Alterations in the composition of gut microbiota--known as dysbiosis--has been proposed to contribute to the development of obesity, thereby supporting the potential interest of nutrients targeting the gut with beneficial effect for host adiposity. We test the ability of a specific concentrate of water-extractable high molecular weight arabinoxylans (AX) from wheat to modulate both the gut microbiota and lipid metabolism in high-fat (HF) diet-induced obese mice.


Mice were fed either a control diet (CT) or a HF diet, or a HF diet supplemented with AX (10% w/w) during 4 weeks. AX supplementation restored the number of bacteria that were decreased upon HF feeding, i.e. Bacteroides-Prevotella spp. and Roseburia spp. Importantly, AX treatment markedly increased caecal bifidobacteria content, in particular Bifidobacterium animalis lactis. This effect was accompanied by improvement of gut barrier function and by a lower circulating inflammatory marker. Interestingly, rumenic acid (C18:2 c9,t11) was increased in white adipose tissue due to AX treatment, suggesting the influence of gut bacterial metabolism on host tissue. In parallel, AX treatment decreased adipocyte size and HF diet-induced expression of genes mediating differentiation, fatty acid uptake, fatty acid oxidation and inflammation, and decreased a key lipogenic enzyme activity in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. Furthermore, AX treatment significantly decreased HF-induced adiposity, body weight gain, serum and hepatic cholesterol accumulation and insulin resistance. Correlation analysis reveals that Roseburia spp. and Bacteroides/Prevotella levels inversely correlate with these host metabolic parameters.


Supplementation of a concentrate of water-extractable high molecular weight AX in the diet counteracted HF-induced gut dysbiosis together with an improvement of obesity and lipid-lowering effects. We postulate that hypocholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity effects are related to changes in gut microbiota. These data support a role for wheat AX as interesting nutrients with prebiotic properties related to obesity prevention.

PMID: 21695273

MGN-3 500mg DOUBLE STRENGTH BioBran Arabinoxylan Compound AHCC (50 Vegetarian Capsules) by Lane Labs (MGN3 MGN 3) Brand: Daiwa Health Development ($148) rice fiber bran with enzymes.

Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2008;2008:829101. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Insights into the roles of gut microbes in obesity.

Sanz Y, Santacruz A, De Palma G.

Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), P.O. Box 73, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain.


Obesity is a major public health issue as it enhances the risk of suffering several chronic diseases of increasing prevalence. Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, associated with a chronic low-grade inflammation. Gut microbes are considered to contribute to body weight regulation and related disorders by influencing metabolic and immune host functions. The gut microbiota as a whole improves the host's ability to extract and store energy from the diet leading to body weight gain, while specific commensal microbes seem to exert beneficial effects on bile salt, lipoprotein, and cholesterol metabolism. The gut microbiota and some probiotics also regulate immune functions, protecting the host form infections and chronic inflammation. In contrast, dysbiosis and endotoxaemia may be inflammatory factors responsible for developing insulin resistance and body weight gain. In the light of the link between the gut microbiota, metabolism, and immunity, the use of dietary strategies to modulate microbiota composition is likely to be effective in controlling metabolic disorders. Although so far only a few preclinical and clinical trials have demonstrated the effects of specific gut microbes and prebiotics on biological markers of these disorders, the findings indicate that advances in this field could be of value in the struggle against obesity and its associated-metabolic disorders.

PMID: 19259329

J Pediatr. 1984 Jan;104(1):34-40.

Rapid death of infant rhesus monkeys injected with Clostridium difficile toxins A and B: physiologic and pathologic basis.

Arnon SS, Mills DC, Day PA, Henrickson RV, Sullivan NM, Wilkins TD.


Clostridium botulinum can colonize and produce botulinal toxin in the human infant intestine, which the toxin then permeates to cause generalized flaccid paralysis, and occasionally, sudden death. This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that toxins produced by other intestinal clostridia, e.g., C. difficile, might also cause systemic illness and sometimes death in infants (J Pediatr 100:568, 1982). Because this hypothesis could not be evaluated clinically until the systemic manifestations of C. difficile toxins in primates were known, infant rhesus monkeys were given 6 to 11 micrograms/kg of the recently purified C. difficile toxins A or B, either intravenously or intraperitoneally. The animals showed no abnormalities for several hours, but then developed lethargy, hypotonia, hypothermia, and, shortly before death, sudden elevation of serum concentrations of potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus and of enzymes that derived mainly from skeletal muscle, heart and brain. Five of six animals died quietly 3.5 to 8.0 hours after onset of symptoms. Death appeared to result from cessation of breathing, after which the sinus tachycardia then deteriorated to a flat ECG. Necropsy findings were insufficient to explain the cause of death. It appears that in infant monkeys microgram amounts of C. difficile toxins A and B can produce a rapid quiet death, the cause of which is undetectable at necropsy, a situation pathologically reminiscent of crib death in human infants, although the possible clinical identity of these two conditions has yet to be established.

PMID: 6690674

Infect Immun. 1999 Jan;67(1):302-7.

Saccharomyces boulardii protease inhibits the effects of Clostridium difficile toxins A and B in human colonic mucosa.

Castagliuolo I, Riegler MF, Valenick L, LaMont JT, Pothoulakis C.

Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Saccharomyces boulardii is a nonpathogenic yeast used in the treatment of Clostridium difficile diarrhea and colitis. We have reported that S. boulardii inhibits C. difficile toxin A enteritis in rats by releasing a 54-kDa protease which digests the toxin A molecule and its brush border membrane (BBM) receptor (I. Castagliuolo, J. T. LaMont, S. T. Nikulasson, and C. Pothoulakis, Infect. Immun. 64:5225-5232, 1996). The aim of this study was to further evaluate the role of S. boulardii protease in preventing C. difficile toxin A enteritis in rat ileum and determine whether it protects human colonic mucosa from C. difficile toxins. A polyclonal rabbit antiserum raised against purified S. boulardii serine protease inhibited by 73% the proteolytic activity present in S. boulardii conditioned medium in vitro. The anti-protease immunoglobulin G (IgG) prevented the action of S. boulardii on toxin A-induced intestinal secretion and mucosal permeability to [3H]mannitol in rat ileal loops, while control rabbit IgG had no effect. The anti-protease IgG also prevented the effects of S. boulardii protease on digestion of toxins A and B and on binding of [3H]toxin A and [3H]toxin B to purified human colonic BBM. Purified S. boulardii protease reversed toxin A- and toxin B-induced inhibition of protein synthesis in human colonic (HT-29) cells. Furthermore, toxin A- and B-induced drops in transepithelial resistance in human colonic mucosa mounted in Ussing chambers were reversed by 60 and 68%, respectively, by preexposing the toxins to S. boulardii protease. We conclude that the protective effects of S. boulardii on C. difficile-induced inflammatory diarrhea in humans are due, at least in part, to proteolytic digestion of toxin A and B molecules by a secreted protease.

PMID: 9864230