Guidelines for reporting on animal fecal transplantation (GRAFT) studies: recommendations from a systematic review of murine transplantation protocols

Kate R. Secombe, Ghanyah H. Al-Qadami, Courtney B. Subramaniam, Joanne M. Bowen, Jacqui Scott, Ysabella Z.A. Van Sebille, Matthew Snelson, Caitlin Cowan, Gerard Clarke, Cassandra E. Gheorghe, John F. Cryan, Hannah R. Wardill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a powerful tool used to connect changes in gut microbial composition with a variety of disease states and pathologies. While FMT enables potential causal relationships to be identified, the experimental details reported in preclinical FMT protocols are highly inconsistent and/or incomplete. This limitation reflects a current lack of authoritative guidance on reporting standards that would facilitate replication efforts and ultimately reproducible science. We therefore systematically reviewed all FMT protocols used in mouse models with the goal of formulating recommendations on the reporting of preclinical FMT protocols. Search strategies were applied across three databases (PubMed, EMBASE, and Ovid Medline) until June 30, 2020. Data related to donor attributes, stool collection, processing/storage, recipient preparation, administration, and quality control were extracted. A total of 1753 papers were identified, with 241 identified for data extraction and analysis. Of the papers included, 92.5% reported a positive outcome with FMT intervention. However, the vast majority of studies failed to address core methodological aspects including the use of anaerobic conditions (91.7% of papers lacked information), storage (49.4%), homogenization (33.6%), concentration (31.5%), volume (19.9%) and administration route (5.3%). To address these reporting limitations, we developed theGuidelines for Reporting Animal Fecal Transplant (GRAFT) that guide reporting standards for preclinical FMT. The GRAFT recommendations will enable robust reporting of preclinical FMT design, and facilitate high-quality peer review, improving the rigor and translation of knowledge gained through preclinical FMT studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1979878
Number of pages14
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Fecal microbiome transplantation
  • FMT
  • guidelines
  • methodology
  • replication
  • reporting guidelines
  • reproducibility

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