Exclusive enteral nutrition in Crohn's disease: Evidence and practicalities.


Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Southampton Children's Hospital, Southampton, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is the first line therapy for paediatric Crohn's disease, providing a complete nutritional feed whilst simultaneously inducing remission in up to 80% of cases. The effect of EEN on systemic/local intestinal immune function and subsequent inflammation (including barrier permeability, direct anti-inflammatory effects and cytokine signalling pathways), alongside changes in the microbiome (specific species and broad taxonomic shifts, functional changes) are becoming clearer, however the exact mechanism for induction of remission in Crohn's disease remains uncertain. The evidence of efficacy in paediatric Crohn's disease is strong, with selected adult populations also benefiting from EEN. However despite recommendations from all major societies (ECCO, ESPGHAN, NASPGHAN and ESPEN) first-line use of EEN is varied and Europe/Australasia/Canada show significantly more routine use than other parts of North America. Growth and nutritional status are significantly improved with EEN compared to corticosteroids but long-term outcomes are sparse. This review discusses the evidence underlying the use of EEN, highlighting the mechanisms thought to underlie how EEN induces remission in Crohn's disease, when and how to use EEN, including practical issues in both paediatric and adult practice (formulation, compliance, volumes and administration), and summarises the ongoing research priorities.


Crohn's disease,Exclusive enteral nutrition,Nutrition,Paediatric,

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