Probiotics - Published: February 2010
Interview Date: May 2010
From the Special Topic of
In our Special Topics analysis of probiotics
research over the past decade, the work of Dr. Paolo
Gionchetti ranks at #3 by total cites, based on 31 papers
cited a total of 2,114 times. His record in
Essential Science IndicatorsSM from
Reuters includes 77 papers, the
majority of which are classified in the field of Clinical
Medicine, cited a total of 3,061 times between January 1,
1999 and December 31, 2009.
Dr. Gionchetti is a Researcher and Assistant Professor
in the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
at the University of Bologna. He is on the editorial board
of the International Journal of Probiotics and
Prebiotics and serves as a reviewer on several other
Below, ScienceWatch.com talks with Dr. Gionchetti
about his highly cited work.
Would you tell us a bit about your
educational background and research experiences?
I've been trained in Bologna as well as in Oxford, England. I'm
Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and
Gastroenterology at the University of Bologna; I also work in the
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Unit. My research interests include IBD
pathogenesis, assessment, and treatment.
What first drew your interest to
My interest in probiotics started around 1995-96 when I was looking
at the relationship between intestinal flora and pathogenesis of
Your most-cited cited clinical paper in our
analysis is the 2000
Gastroenterology paper, "Oral
bacteriotherapy as maintenance treatment in patients with chronic
pouchitis: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial," (Gionchetti P,
et al., 119: 305-9, August 2000). Would you tell us about
this study and why you think it has been so highly
"I think that probiotics will become widely used in
This paper was the first double-blind, placebo-controlled paper showing the
efficacy of probiotics in IBD. Pouchitis can be considered as a recurrence
of IBD in patients operated on for ulcerative colitis. We showed that using
probiotics was effective in preventing relapses of pouchitis compared with
Based on your list of papers, you've done a lot of
studies dealing specifically with the VSL#3 probiotic preparation.
Would you talk a little about this aspect of your
VSL#3 is a peculiar preparation of probiotics, very highly
concentrated (450 billion bacteria per sachet, and we used 1,800 billion
bacteria per day!) and containing a cocktail of different strains of
probiotics. In our work, we also have shown for the first time the
intestinal colonization by this preparation.
Are probiotics more accepted as a therapeutic
option in gastroenterological diseases today than they were a decade
I'm sure that probiotics are more widely accepted as a possible
helpful option in many gastroenterological conditions, although I think
there is still a lot to do.
We need to specify that probiotics are highly different among them, because
of the different bacteria and the different dosage of bacteria contained in
each preparation; in fact, each bacterium possesses different mechanisms of
action and function.
Where do you see probiotics going in the next
I think that probiotics will become widely used in clinical practice
although we need further and more controlled studies to allow probiotics to
become a more accepted therapeutic option in
Paolo Gionchetti, M.D.
Researcher, Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
University of Bologna
Paolo Gionchetti's current most-cited paper in Essential
Science Indicators, with 556 cites:
Gionchetti P, et al., "Oral bacteriotherapy as maintenance
treatment in patients with chronic pouchitis: A double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial," Gastroenterology 119(2): 305-9, August
Essential Science Indicators from
KEYWORDS: PROBIOTICS, INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASES, POUCHITIS, ULCERATIVE
COLITIS, RELAPSES, VSL#3 PROBIOTIC PREPARATION, INTESTINAL COLONIZATION,
CONTROLLED STUDIES, GASTROENTEROLOGY.