Protein Secreted by Parasitic Worms May Treat IBD by Easing Gut Inflammation, Study Reports

Protein Secreted by Parasitic Worms May Treat IBD by Easing Gut Inflammation, Study Reports
A protein secreted by parasitic worms can block immune cells from promoting inflammation, a finding of possible therapeutic value for such inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. The study by researchers at Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, “A structurally distinct TGF-β mimic from an intestinal helminth parasite potently induces regulatory T cells,” was published in the journal Nature Communications. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation caused by poor regulation of pro-inflammatory signals produced by immune cells. It is known that bacteria are important regulators of bowel activity, and in maintaining a natural balance of immune responses in the bowel. Such immune-regulation activity is not only restricted to bacteria, with studies having also shown that fungi may play a role in IBD. Previously, researchers found that infection by Heligmosomoides polygyrus, a helminth or worm parasite, could change the natural bacterial balance in the gut in a way that would prevent inflammatory signals in the bowel. The Edinburgh research team found that
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