Strain of Mouth Bacteria Linked to Severe Ulcerative Colitis, Study Reports

Strain of Mouth Bacteria Linked to Severe Ulcerative Colitis, Study Reports
A newly discovered strain of oral, or mouth bacteria was found to be associated with severe ulcerative colitis (UC) — a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study reported.  Researchers discovered a molecule called pSma1 in oral bacterial cell samples from people with severe UC. This new mouth bacteria may be a potential disease progression marker, or a therapeutic target for UC, the investigators said. The study, “Analysis of complete Campylobacter concisus genomes identifies genomospecies features, secretion systems and novel plasmids and their association with severe ulcerative colitis,” was published in the journal Microbial Genomics. IBD is a chronic condition of the gastrointestinal tract, with UC and Crohn’s disease being the two major forms of the disease.  Crohn’s disease is characterized by the chronic inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, while UC involves the rectum and the large intestine (colon). In severe IBD cases, inflammation can spread further, and in some people who fail to respond to medicine, intestinal surgery may be required.  Campylobacter concisus is a type of bacteria that generally colonize the mouth cavity in healthy people. But it also has been associated with IBD and other diseases in the gastrointestinal tract. “Oral bacteria enter the digestive system every day when we swallow food or saliva,” Li Zhang, PhD, the study's senior study, said in a press release. “Most of the bacteria are killed by acids in the stomach, but some can survive and colonize in the intestines,” Zhang said. Until now, only three complete C. concisus genomes have been analyzed; however, none of them have been linked to UC. Further, C. concisus genomes from healthy individuals have not been i
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