Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Changes in the gut bacteria protect against stroke

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, demonstrate that an altered gut microbiota in humans is associated with symptomatic atherosclerosis and stroke. These findings are presented in a study published in Nature Communications on December 4.

The human body contains ten times more bacterial cells than human cells, most of which are found in the gut. These bacteria contain an enormous number of genes in addition to our host genome, and are collectively known as the gut metagenome.

Rapidly expanding field

How does the metagenome affect our health? This question is currently being addressed by researchers in the rapidly expanding field of metagenomic research. Several diseases have been linked to variations in the metagenome.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, now also show that changes in the gut metagenome can be linked to atherosclerosis and stroke.

Differences in gut microbiota

The researchers compared a group of stroke patients with a group of healthy subjects and found major differences in their gut microbiota. In particular, they showed that genes required for the production of carotenoids were more frequently found in gut microbiota from healthy subjects. The healthy subjects also had significantly higher levels of a certain carotenoid in the blood than the stroke survivors.

Affects disease states

Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant, and it has been claimed for many years that they protect against angina and stroke. Thus, the increased incidence of carotenoid-producing bacteria in the gut of healthy subjects may offer clues to explain how the gut metagenome affects disease states.

Carotenoids are marketed today as a dietary supplement. The market for them is huge, but clinical studies of their efficacy in protecting against angina and stroke have produced varying results.

Important health benefits

Jens Nielsen, Professor of Systems Biology at Chalmers, says that it may be preferable to take probiotics instead – for example dietary supplements containing types of bacteria that produce carotenoids.

“Our results indicate that long-term exposure to carotenoids, through production by the bacteria in the digestive system, has important health benefits. These results should make it possible to develop new probiotics. We think that the bacterial species in the probiotics would establish themselves as a permanent culture in the gut and have a long-term effect”.

Develop risk prognoses

“By examining the patient’s bacterial microbiota, we should also be able to develop risk prognoses for cardiovascular disease”, says Fredrik Bäckhed, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Gothenburg,. ”It should be possible to provide completely new disease-prevention options”.

Close cooperation

The researchers have now started a company, Metabogen, to further develop their discoveries relating to the metagenome. Their success is based on close cooperation between engineers, microbiologists and doctors.

Jens Nielsen and Fredrik Bäckhed both agree that one of the challenges in the rapidly developing area of metagenomics is its multidisciplinary facets, requiring novel collaborations and merging of research fields.

The paper “Symptomatic atherosclerosis is associated with an altered gut metagenome” was published on December 4.

Fredrik Bäckhed, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, +46 31 342 78 33,

Jens Nielsen, Professor of Systems Biology at Chalmers University of Technology, +46 70 243 66 18,

Fredrik Karlsson, research student in Systems Biology at Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 38 86,

The research was funded by:
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Chalmers Foundation, Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, Torsten Söderberg’s Foundation, IngaBritt och Arne Lundbergs Foundation, AFA Insurances, the Swedish Research Council, and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

More VideoLinks >>>