The Effect of Probiotics (VSL) on Portal Hypertension

2014-08-27 03:17:13 | BioPortfolio


The investigators will address the hypothesis that portal hypertension is mediated in part by bacterial or endotoxin translocation and the production of inflammatory mediators (tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), etc.). The investigators hypothesize that food supplementation with the probiotic product VSL#3 in patients with Child Pugh B/C cirrhosis will have a beneficial effect on in portal pressure (as measured by the HVPG) by reducing inflammatory mediators and improving systemic and splanchnic hemodynamics.


We have recently completed an open-label uncontrolled trial of the probiotic VSL#3 in 8 patients with compensated cirrhosis and evidence of portal hypertension (VIP study) to determine whether this agent would have beneficial effects in portal pressure reduction (unpublished data Tandon, P. et al.). The open label design and the inclusion of compensated (Child Pugh A) cirrhotic patients in this initial study were chosen to confirm the safety and tolerance of VSL#3 and the safety of the portal pressure measurements at our center. No changes of physical status occured. There was a non-significant reduction in portal pressure from 19.7 to 18.1 mm Hg after 2 months of VSL#3 supplementation. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in the serum aldosterone level (p=0.03). IL-8 levels were reduced in 4/6 patients analyzed to date. These results suggest that VSL#3 results in cytokine reduction and an improvement in the effective circulating volume even in these well-compensated cirrhotic patients. The comparison of the rest of the pro-inflammatory mediators and stool microflora is still being analyzed.

The data in our initial study is very promising. As our patients were compensated cirrhotics with normal intestinal permeability and only mild baseline perturbations in hepatic function parameters (INR, bilirubin, albumin) and neurohormonal markers (aldosterone, renin), it is not surprising that a reduction in portal pressure was not identified. Consistent with previous studies however, these local results confirm the safety and tolerance of both VSL#3 as well as portal pressure measurements in cirrhotic patients (20,24,25).

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Health Services Research


Portal Hypertension




University of Alberta
T6G 2C8




University of Alberta

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:13-0400

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