Recent research has revealed how good bacteria can help the gut stay healthy.
One study shows that good bacteria, or microbiota, interact with the epithelial cells lining the intestine and cells of the immune system to help balance immune responses and protect the gut from unwanted inflammation.
The study suggests that manipulating the microbiota to limit intestinal immune responses could have potential therapeutic benefits for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.
"An important body of work currently indicates that the microbiota shapes the immune system and helps it to do its job," said the corresponding author, Dr. Gretchen Diehl.
"Microbes that cause diseases, such as Salmonella, cause a strong inflammatory immune response aimed at eliminating the microbe. But an inflammatory immune response, especially in the intestine, can damage healthy tissue. Here we define a role for the microbiota in modulating the immune response in a way that reduces inflammation and limits the damage it can do to the intestine. "
For an effective immune response, immune cells called antigen presenting cells direct other immune cells, called T cells, to mount an appropriate inflammatory response to fight microbial invaders.
They also direct anti-inflammatory cells, also known as regulatory T cells, to limit inflammatory immune responses against things like the foods we eat and to deactivate inflammatory immune responses.
The microbiota helps to "fine tune" the inflammatory response by signaling the antigen-presenting cells that secrete the cytokine IL-10, an important anti-inflammatory molecule. IL-10 dampens the responses of inflammatory T cells and promotes regulatory responses of T cells that maintain balance.
"The result is a balanced response that can still fight an infection like Salmonella, but which is regulated to prevent damage to healthy intestinal tissue," Diehl said. "We wanted to know how the microbiota could induce this type of response."
"We discovered that when we administered antibiotics to the laboratory animals, the antigen-presenting cells did not produce IL-10. "When we returned bacteria to the entrails of animals, only bacteria that could bind to the intestinal epithelium triggered the production of IL-10 by antigen-presenting cells and reduced the inflammatory response," Diehl said.
"It is somewhat counterintuitive because the microbes that can adhere to the intestinal epithelium are considered pathogens that can cause diseases, but in this case we found that the union of bacteria to the epithelium was not causing disease, on the contrary, it was necessary to promote a balanced regulation of the T cell responses and helped protect the intestine. "
"A message to us is that a healthy microbiota is necessary to allow a balanced response not only to protect us from infection, but also to limit potential tissue damage when the immune system tries to eliminate pathogens," Diehl said.
The findings have been published in the journal Immunity.
Source: AND ME
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Reference: https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/can-good-bacteria-keep-gut-healthy-answers-study-ag0718/, by ANI