Probiotic microbe kicks on an anti-inflammatory process in mice
We are all crawling with bacteria, and researchers hope someday to induce some of these microbes within us to produce compounds that will fight disease. In a first step toward this goal, a team has identified a bacterial product that kicks on anti-inflammatory machinery in the intestines of mice and suppresses a condition similar to human Crohn’s disease.
The findings offer the first example of a microbe-generated compound that “networks” with the immune system to quell inflammation in a mammal, the scientists report in the May 29 Nature.
The human intestines house 300 to 1,000 distinct kinds of bacteria — some good and some bad. Many have never been clearly identified or even accurately counted. Their roles are also gradually being discerned to include more than food digestion.
But from an evolutionarily perspective, it’s a safe assumption that humans would have purged these bacteria long ag