Some Crohn’s genes make cells deaf to messages from good gut bacteria | Science News

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Some Crohn’s genes make cells deaf to messages from good gut bacteria

When it works, genetic-microbe communication link helps calm inflammation

By
2:07pm, May 5, 2016
Bacteroides fragilis and intestinal cells

MESSAGE RECEIVED  A microbe called Bacteroides fragilis (left image, boxed) sends out messages that calm the immune system, quelling inflammation in mouse intestinal cells (left, bottom half). These messages rest in pouches called outer membrane vesicles (yellow bubbles in reconstruction of microbe at right). Defective genes linked to Crohn’s disease might make it hard for people to get such messages.

Good gut bacteria might not help people with Crohn’s disease.

Protective microbial messages go unread in mice and in human immune cells with certain defective genes, researchers report online May 5 in Science.

The findings are the first to tie together the roles of genes and beneficial microbes in the inflammatory bowel disease, says biologist Brett Finlay of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who was not involved in the new work.

“This is a major step forward in this area,” he says. Human genes and friendly microbes work together to control inflammation, he says. “And when you muck that up, things can go awry.”

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