Study Links Pathogenic Gut Bacteria and IBD

Study Links Pathogenic Gut Bacteria and IBD
There is a delicate balance in the human gastrointestinal tract between the potentially harmful bacteria consumed through daily nutrition and the "normal flora or "good bacteria" that play key roles in maintaining digestive health. What's impressive is the human gut is home to roughly 100 trillion microbiota. That's 10 times more than all the body's cells combined. Some scientists even consider these microorganisms as a kind of "forgotten organ" because of all the good they do for their host body. However, there are situations, such as those focused on in a recent study from Yale University, where certain gut bacteria trigger and aggravate inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The researchers believe these bacteria behave the way they do according to the body's immune responses. According to Richard Flavell, the Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, some harmful pathogens still manage to slip through the body's defenses and cause damage wherever they settle in the gastrointestinal tract. Their research isolated strains of bacteria that had an unusually high number of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) embedded in the surface. Flavell explained that normally, the body produces these IgA molecules to keep certain bacteria in check, allowing them to form a film around neutralized bacteria. The researchers sampled both "harmless" and pathogenic gut bacteria from several patients and instilled them in mice. Those that received the good bacteria did not have any gastrointestinal upset, while the mice that received the latter exhibited IBD symptoms. Flavell and his team of investigators concluded that there indeed exists a relationship between more concentrated surface IgA and the body's innate immune responses within the gut. While the study's finding
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