The gut microbiome of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) fluctuates more compared to those of healthy individuals. These findings suggest that therapies targeting some of these alterations within the gut microbes may prove beneficial to IBD patients. The study, “Dynamics of the human gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease,” was published in the journal Nature Microbiology. IBD is partially caused by a deregulated immune response, which in many cases is activated due to alterations in the natural community of microbes that populate our gut, called gut microbiome. Previous studies showed differences in the gut microbiome composition not only between IBD and healthy people, but even within different IBD subtypes, including ulcerative colitis, colonic Crohn's disease, and ileal Crohn's disease. However, all these studies were performed at a specific time point or with few individuals, and the gut microbiome fluctuations over the long term remained poorly understood. "It's important to know not just what microbes are present, but also to understand how the microbial community changes as patients' symptoms improve or worsen over time," Colin Brislawn, a scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and one of the study's authors, said in a press release. "We explored the dynamic nature of the disease as it relates to the dynamic nature of the human gut microbiome." The international team of researchers analyzed the gut microbiome in 137 people over two years.