Cedars-Sinai researchers say their examination of the fungi in the intestines suggests an important link between these microbes and inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
In the new study, published in the June 8 issue of Science, researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute identified and characterized the large community of fungi inhabiting the large intestine in a model of the disease.
The digestive tract is home to a large number of micro-organisms. In fact, with an estimated 100 trillion bacteria residing in the gut, microbes outnumber human cells in the body. Some are necessary to aid in digesting food, producing necessary vitamins and suppressing the growth of harmful microbes. Others are harmful to the body, contributing to illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and obesity.
Modern DNA-sequencing technology has revolutionized the study of these microbes in the last decade, allowing the role of bacteria in disease to be understood more clearly, as is shown in the Cedars-Science research published in Science.
“It’s long been recognized that fungi must also exist in the gut, but we’re among the first to investigate what types, how many, and whether they’re important in disease,” said David Underhill, PhD, associate professor and director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine, who led the study. “We were truly stunned to see just how common fungi are, identifying more than 100 different types” and seeing linkages to digestive disorders.
An estimated 1.4 million Americans have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, a chronic digestive disorder, and about 30,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Ulcerative colitis, one of the most common types of IBD, causes inflammation and ulcers in the top layers of the lining of the large intestine. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. Ulcerative colitis patients can be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
“This study takes us an important step closer to understanding how fungi contribute to disease, as well as significantly expanding our understanding of what types of fungi are living in our bodies,” said Iliyan Iliev, PhD, a Cedars-Sinai research scientist and lead author on the study.
To determine fungi contribute to inflammatory disease, the study homed in on a protein called Dectin-1, produced by white blood cells and used by the immune system to detect and kill fungi. In an animal model of the disease, researchers found that the protein is important in protecting against inflammation caused by indigenous fungi. The finding has significant implications for human disease, as scientists at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute found a variant of the gene for Dectin-1 that is strongly associated with severe forms of ulcerative colitis.
Nicole White | Cedars-Sinai News
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy