Researchers Identify Fungus That May Worsen Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Researchers Identify Fungus That May Worsen Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
The fungus Candida tropicalis may trigger gut inflammation and worsen Crohn’s disease, according to results of a study presented at this year’s Digestive Disease Week, held recently in Chicago. The hallmark of Crohn's disease is gut inflammation, or colitis. Colitis is thought to be triggered when the body’s immune system responds to an infection, but also ends up attacking cells that compose the intestinal tract. Now researchers think that one possible cause of gut inflammation may be an infection by Candida tropicalis. "The type of microorganisms that live in our intestine, our microbiome, has been shown to be a key element for triggering Crohn's disease,” Luca Di Martino, PhD, said in a press release. Di Martino is a  researcher at the Digestive Health Research Institute at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Recent studies have shown that the abundance of the fungus Candida tropicalis is significantly higher in the intestine of Crohn's disease patients compared to healthy people." To investigate the potential negative effects triggered by the presence of this fungus, researchers compared mice infected with Candida tropicalis to non-infected mice. They observed that infected mice had severe symptoms of Crohn's disease compared to the others. Indeed, they presented 4.5 times higher expression of IFN-γ, an inflammatory molecule associated with colitis, than non-infected mice. These results support the idea that the presence of Candida tropicalis renders the gut more vulnerable to develop inflammation. The team believes that t
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