IBD begins when “good” bacteria are mistakenly killed by the immune system, while harmful bacteria multiply — resulting in inflammation and damage to the intestines, and chronic episodes of abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and other changes in bowel habits. It’s estimated that IBD, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, affects 1.4 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In test-tube and animal studies, the researchers found that potentially harmful bacteria in the intestine called Enterobacteriaceae use nitrate — a byproduct formed during the intestinal inflammation in IBD — to grow and thrive. Enterobacteriaceae strains include certain E. coli bacteria, which can worsen the intestinal damage of IBD. Eventually, the intestines of those with IBD become overrun by harmful bacteria, and the numbers of normal good bacteria in the gut decrease.
“Much like humans use oxygen, E. coli can use nitrate as a replacement for oxygen to respire, produce energy and grow,” said lead author Andreas Baumler, a professor of medical microbiology and immunology at UC Davis.
“In IBD, nitrate produced by inflammation in the gut allows E. coli to take a deep ‘breath,’ and beat out our beneficial microbes in the competition for nutrients,” he said.
The inflammation in the intestines of those with IBD leads to the release of nitric oxide radicals that are powerful in attacking bacteria, Baumler explained. Yet these nitric oxide radicals are also very unstable, and eventually decompose into nitrate, which can be used by bacteria like E. coli to thrive and grow. By contrast, good bacteria in the gut grows through fermentation — a much slower process.
Determining the reasons why bacteria like E. coli can edge out good bacteria in the gut is crucial for determining new ways to halt the IBD disease process, according to Baumler. Current treatments for IBD suppress the immune response through antibiotics, corticosteroids or other powerful immune-modifying drugs. But long-term side effects can limit their use and their effectiveness for IBD patients.
The UC Davis team’s research indicates that targeting the molecular pathways that generate nitric oxide and nitrate, as well as other molecules that feed harmful gut bacteria, could calm down and normalize the intestinal environment in IBD, Baumler noted. They are already doing research with one candidate drug that could halt the multiple pathways by which harmful bacteria thrive in IBD.
“The idea would be to inhibit all pathways that produce molecules that can be used by bacteria such as E. coli for respiration and growth,” Baumler said. “Essentially you could then smother the bacteria.”
Other study authors include Sebastian E. Winter, Maria G. Winter, Mariana N. Xavier, Parameth Thiennimitr, Victor Poon, A. Marijke Keestra, Ina Popova, Sanjai J. Parikh, Renee M. Tsolis, and Valley J. Stewart of UC Davis; and Richard C. Laughlin, Gabriel Gomez, Jing Wu, Sara D. Lawhon, and L. Garry Adams of Texas A&M University.
This work was supported by the California Agricultural Experiment Station and Public Health Service grants AI089078, AI076246 and AI088122 along with a scholarship from the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.About UC Davis Health System
Even plants can be stressed
03.09.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie
Research team from Münster develops innovative catalytic chemistry process
03.09.2015 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...
China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.
China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...
The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.
Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
03.09.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
03.09.2015 | Process Engineering
03.09.2015 | Materials Sciences
03.09.2015 | Materials Sciences