Clostridium scindens inhibits closely related microbe C. difficile
Janice Haney Carr/CDC
Gut infections from the bacterium Clostridium difficile can be fought with a closely related but harmless microbe known as C. scindens. The friendly bacterium combats infection in mice by converting molecules produced in the liver into forms that inhibit C. difficile growth, researchers report October 22 in Nature.
C. scindens also appears to protect people from infection, the researchers found in a preliminary study in humans.
The new findings could begin a path to the next generation of therapies using gut bacteria, says Alexander Khoruts, a gastroenterologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
People who become infected with C. difficile typically have taken antibiotics, which wipe out the beneficial microbes in the gut, giving C. difficile a chance to take root. The infection can lead to cramps, diarrhea and even