Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Beneficial bacteria can offset bowel disease


In a new report, researchers describe how inflammation can go unchecked in the absence of a certain inhibitor called NLRP12, adding that beneficial bacteria may be the key to helping to reverse a cycle of gut inflammation seen in certain inflammatory bowel diseases.

In a new study, scientists describe how inflammation can go unchecked in the absence of a certain inflammation inhibitor called NLRP12. In a harmful feedback loop, this inflammation can upset the balance of bacteria living in the gut -- part of the community of micro-organisms in the human body known as the microbiome. They found in preclinical models that certain types of "bad" bacteria were more abundant, while there were lower levels of beneficial bugs in the absence of NLRP12. That led to even more inflammation in their models.

But researchers found that adding back a type of beneficial bacteria that normally grows in the gut can help end this cycle, suggesting a new treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.

NLRP12 has been known to suppress inflammatory signals to prevent an overactive immune response. But an analysis uncovered low levels of NLRP12 in twins with ulcerative colitis, but not in paired twins without the disease. And in mouse models that lacked this protein, they found higher levels of inflammation in the colon.

In the absence of this protein, they also saw changes in the types of bacteria living in the gut -- suggesting a role for the protein in keeping the microbiome in balance to prevent inflammation.

For further details see:

Liang Chen, Justin E Wilson, Mark J Koenigsknecht, Wei-Chun Chou, Stephanie A Montgomery, Agnieszka D Truax, W June Brickey, Christopher D Packey, Nitsan Maharshak, Glenn K Matsushima, Scott E Plevy, Vincent B Young, R Balfour Sartor, Jenny P-Y Ting. NLRP12 attenuates colon inflammation by maintaining colonic microbial diversity and promoting protective commensal bacterial growth. Nature Immunology, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/ni.3690

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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