Swell, a Pain Lesson: Gut microbes needed for immune development | Science News

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Swell, a Pain Lesson: Gut microbes needed for immune development

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1:11pm, February 13, 2008

Bacteria in your belly can be a pain in the neck, knee, or tuchus. Beneficial microbes that live in the colon are responsible for developing immune system responses that lead to inflammation and pain, a new study in mice shows.

People and animals host hundreds of different bacteria and microbes in their large intestines. Generally, the microbes are friends, helping to digest food and even ensuring that our intestines develop correctly.

Now, a group of researchers in Brazil has shown that our bacterial buddies help our immune systems acquire the ability to cause swelling and pain.

The news may sound like a classic case of "With friends like these ... ," but the results actually show that bacteria and other microbes that normally live in our intestines are helping protect us, says Arthur Ouwehand, a microbiologist at the University of Turku in Finland.

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