Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Beneficial Bacteria May Help Ward Off Infection

 

English: Template for Template:Food safety

English: Template for Template:Food safety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 19 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

 

While many bacteria exist as aggressive pathogens, causing diseases ranging from tuberculosis and cholera, to plague, diphtheria and toxic shock syndrome, others play a less malevolent role and some are critical for human health.

In a new study, Cheryl Nickerson and her group at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, in collaboration with an international team including Tom Van de Wiele and lead author Rosemarie De Weirdt at Ghent University, Belgium, explore the role of Lactobaccilus reuteri — a natural resident of the human gut — to protect against foodborne infection.

Their results demonstrate that this beneficial or probiotic organism, which produces an antimicrobial substance known as reuterin, may protect intestinal epithelial cells from infection by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Salmonella….

Bacterial Blizzard

A swarm of some hundred trillion bacteria occupies the human body, outnumbering human cells by about 10 to 1. Among these are members of the genus Lactobacilli, some of which have been associated with therapeutic, probiotic properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity.

The current study zeros in on Lactobacillus reuteri — one of the more than 180 species of Lactobacilli. The group investigated the potential of this bacterium to inhibit the early stages ofSalmonella infection, seeking to identify plausible mechanisms for such inhibitory effects.

Intestinal infections by non-typhoidal Salmonella strains induce diarrhea and gastroenteritis, and remain a leading source of foodborne illness worldwide. Such infections are acutely unpleasant but self-limiting in healthy individuals. For those with compromised immunity however, they can be deadly and the alarming incidence of multi-drug resistant Salmonellastrains has underlined the necessity of more effective therapeutics.

The use of benign microorganisms offers a promising new approach to treating infection from pathogens like Salmonellaand indeed, L. reuteri has been shown to help protect against gastrointestinal infection and reduce diarrhea in children.

Safeguarding cells

The origin of L. reuteri’s protective role still remains unclear, and the present study investigated whether reuterin, a metabolite produced by L. reuteri during the process of reducing glycerol in the gut, could be one of the keys to protection. While it has been speculated that reuterin acts by regulating immune responses or competing with Salmonella for key binding sites, the current study represents the first in vitro examination of host-pathogen interactions using human intestinal epithelium in the presence of reuterin-producing L. reuteri.

 

 

July 23, 2012 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , ,

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