Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

It takes a village… to ward off dangerous infections? New microbiome research suggests so [news release]

It takes a village… to ward off dangerous infections? New microbiome research suggests so
FROM the 23 July 2015 UM HealthSystem news release

Angry villagers

Your gut’s “village” of bacteria may protect you against C. difficile infection – or not.

 

Like a collection of ragtag villagers fighting off an invading army, the mix of bacteria that live in our guts may band together to keep dangerous infections from taking hold, new research suggests.

But some “villages” may succeed better than others at holding off the invasion, because of key differences in the kinds of bacteria that make up their feisty population, the team from theUniversity of Michigan Medical School reports.

The researchers even show it may be possible to predict which collections of gut bacteria will resist invasion the best — opening the door to new ways of aiding them in their fight.

…these models could serve as a diagnostic tool, to predict which patients will need the most protection against C-diff before they go to the hospital, or even to custom-design a protective dose of bacteria before or after a C-diff exposure.

In other words, to see which villages need the most reinforcements to prevail in battle.

Community matters

Schloss, who is a key member of the Medical School’s Host Microbiome Initiative, notes that no one species of bacteria by itself protected against colonization. It was the mix that did it. And no one particular mix of specific bacteria was spectacularly better than others – several of the diverse “villages” resisted invasion.

Resistance was associated with members of the Porphyromonadaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Lactobacillus, Alistipes, and Turicibacter families of bacteria. Susceptibility to C. difficile, on the other hand, was associated with loss of these protective species and a rise in Escherichia or Streptococcus bacteria.

“It’s the community that matters, and antibiotics screw it up,” Schloss explains. Being able to use advance genetic tools to detect the DNA of dozens of different bacteria species, and tell how common or rare each one is in a particular gut, made this research possible.

C. difficile bacteria cell

Clostridium difficile bacteria kill
thousands of Americans each year.

Then, this massive amount of information about the villages of bacteria present in each of the mice in the experiment, and the relative success of each village in fighting off C-diff, was fed into the computer model created by the team.

Read the entire article here

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July 25, 2015 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , ,

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