CHICAGO – A University of Chicago medical researcher has said that an immune cell protein helps good bacteria fight harmful gut pathogens.
This discovery, he said, could lead to new treatments fighting infections by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.
The study was published in the journal Immunity April 21.
One of the treatments researchers suggest is microbiota transplantation, which is used to promote good gut microbiota development that would indirectly kill harmful bacteria among patients prone to gut infection.
This may prove useful in an age of proliferating harmful bacteria through the overuse of antibiotics, they said.
What researchers have found is immune system cells known as type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) are essential for infection resistance in the gut.
They found that the protein ID2 is central to this protective effect, but are missing in ILC3s.
The scientists transferred microbiota from a mouse with ILC3s that lacked ID2 into a germ-free mouse. Those mice had dramatically reduced harmful bacterial populations.
Through their research they were able to conclude that disrupted microbiotal health allows harmful bacteria to colonize the gut.
Research concludes this mechanism could lead to novel therapeutic options to help prevent harmful infections instead of being reactive to them.