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Gut fungi might be linked to obesity and inflammatory bowel disorders

Yeast and bacteria can team up to cause trouble

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2:00pm, October 16, 2017
Candida tropicalis

SHAPE SHIFTER  Candida tropicalis usually grows as a harmless roundish budding yeast (green), but in the presence of two bacteria it stretches into long filaments (brown) that may provoke inflammation in intestines.

Fungi may affect gut health in unexpected ways, new research suggests.

High-fat diets may alter relationships between bacteria and fungi in mice’s intestines, contributing to obesity, researchers report October 11 in mSphere. In independent work, researchers report that a fungus teams up with two types of bacteria to fuel gut inflammation in people with Crohn’s disease. That work was summarized October 4 in Digestive and Liver Disease.

Together, the studies are part of a growing body of research indicating that relationships between the bacterial and fungal kingdoms can affect health, says David Andes, a fungal biologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. Andes wasn’t involved in either study.

Scientists have already described links between

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