A stomach bacterium believed to cause health problems such as gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer may play a dual role by balancing the stomach's ecosystem and controlling body weight and glucose tolerance, according to immunologists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute of Virginia Tech.
Usually the villain in studies of gastric cancer and peptic ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infect about half of the world's population although most infected individuals don't get sick. The bacterium's dwindling numbers coincide with the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in developed countries.
"H. pylori is the dominant member of the gastric microbiota and infects about half of the world population. While H. pylori infection can be associated with severe disease, it helps control chronic inflammatory, allergic, or autoimmune diseases," said Josep Bassaganya-Riera, director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP) at Virginia Tech. "We demonstrated for the first time that gastric colonization with H. pylori exerts beneficial effects in mouse models of obesity and diabetes."
During the past 20 years, obesity in the United States has increased dramatically, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 36 percent of U.S. adults and approximately 17 percent of young people aged 2 to 19 years are obese. Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes and the rates of diabetes have increased in parallel with the rates of obesity.
Mice infected with H. pylori showed less insulin resistance than uninfected mice or other mice infected with a more virulent strain of H. pylori, according to the study, which was recently published in PLOS One. Researchers believe that whether the infection is harmful or beneficial depends on the interaction between the genetic makeup of H. pylori and the host's immune response.
H. pylori carrying the cytotoxin-associated gene pathogenicity island were harmful. But the bacteria with or without an atypical island may be integral to human stomach microbiota. Indeed, studies show that humans have been colonized by H. pylori for about 116,000 years.
The role of H. pylori as a pathogen does not provide an explanation as to why it has colonized the stomach of humans thousands of years. Our new findings suggest that H. pylori may provide important metabolic traits required to ameliorate diabetes that humans have not evolved on their own," Bassaganya-Riera said.
This suggests that the overuse of antibiotics for everything from misdiagnosed infections in humans to supplementary livestock feed may destroy beneficial bacteria and contribute directly to diseases such as obesity, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. It may be time for humans to reconsider how we can better co-exist with H. pylori and other microbes as a means of promoting health.
"This novel finding underscores the complex relationship between H. pylori and humans, with effects not limited to the stomach, but more broadly affecting systemic inflammation and metabolism," said Martin Blaser, the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine, and professor of microbiology at New York University School of Medicine.
To better understand the complex relationship between H. pylori and the human host and to better predict health outcomes, the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens has developed computer models of the mechanisms by which H. pylori interacts with the host and new tools for investigating such interactions," Bassaganya-Riera said.
MIEP is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN272201000056C.
Tiffany Trent | EurekAlert!
Subcutaneous Administration of Multispecific Antibody Makes Tumor Treatment Faster & More Tolerable
01.07.2015 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Why human egg cells don't age well
01.07.2015 | RIKEN
New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions
A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...
A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...
The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...
On June 23, the second Sentinel mission was launched from the space mission launch center in Kourou. A critical component of Aachen is on board. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Tesat-Spacecom have jointly developed the know-how for space-qualified laser components. For the Sentinel mission the diode laser pump module of the Laser Communication Terminal LCT was planned and constructed in Aachen in cooperation with the manufacturer of the LCT, Tesat-Spacecom, and the Ferdinand Braun Institute.
After eight years of preparation, in the early morning of June 23 the time had come: in Kourou in French Guiana, the European Space Agency launched the...
25.06.2015 | Event News
16.06.2015 | Event News
11.06.2015 | Event News
01.07.2015 | Press release
01.07.2015 | Awards Funding
01.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy