Gut health research on display

Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Gut health research on display

Knowledge of the gut microbiome is constantly changing with more research, but it is known to be linked to human health. The 2019 Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit will provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence on the interaction between diet, nutrition and the gut microbiome.

Twenty-three new abstracts looking at advances in gut microbiome research will be presented at the summit, including: a new pathway to control inflammation in the gut; the impact of diet on C. difficile infection in high-risk populations; and the potential for prebiotics to prevent the effects of radiation treatment.

Researchers from University of Massachusetts Medical School conducted a study into ‘Microbiome-driven regulation of P-glycoprotein expression on the intestinal epithelium in maintenance of homeostasis.’ They identified a new pathway controlling inflammation in the gut that is dependent on P-glycoprotein, which works to block immune cell neutrophils from infiltrating the intestines and causing inflammation. Neutrophil infiltration is a key characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease.

“In mice, it was demonstrated that antibiotics reduce the presence of bacteria in the Clostridium class that produce butyrate — a molecule previously shown to induce expression of the P-glycoprotein gene,” the abstract stated. “The authors conclude that these bacteria play a role in controlling the balance between health and disease by regulating the function of P-glycoprotein.”

In a study entitled ‘Diet modulates Clostridioides difficile pathogenesis through host and microbe bile acid metabolism’, researchers from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Children’s Hospital Colorado found diet may help prevent C. difficile infection in high-risk populations.

Keith Hazleton et al analysed the impact of diet on susceptibility to the potentially life-threatening infection that affects more than 500,000 people in the US each year. They showed that mice fed a ‘Western’ diet (high-fat/low-fibre) creates a pro-C. difficile environment in the gut, and concluded that a diet-based intervention may have potential to prevent the infection in people at high risk.

Researchers from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center studied the impact of radiation on the gut microbiome and the intestinal barrier using mice.

“In mice exposed to total body irradiation, changes in the gut microbiome were associated with thinning of intestinal mucus and an impaired intestinal barrier. These effects were prevented by the administration of a prebiotic supplement, indicating the potential of a nutrition-based intervention in patients treated for hematologic cancers,” said the abstract.

The study was entitled ‘Reduced oral nutrition contributes to gastrointestinal toxicity of total body irradiation via changes to the gut microbiome’.

Held on 23–24 March 2019 in Florida, the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit will discuss this research in more detail. It is organised and sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM).

Image credit: © Insider

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