As many as 1.4 million Americans suffer from uncomfortable abdominal cramping and diarrhea that come with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are associated with an imbalance among the thousands of species of “good” bacteria that inhabit the gut. A University of Utah study published in Cell Host and Microbe demonstrates that mice deficient for a component of the immune system, a protein called MyD88, have an imbalanced gut bacterial community – with some species dominating over others – and are more susceptible to contracting a severe IBD-like illness. Further, fecal transplants from healthy donors alleviate IBD symptoms in these mice.
Credit: University of Utah
MyD88 Signaling in T Cells Directs IgA-Mediated Control of the Microbiota to Promote Health. Jason L. Kubinak, Charisse Petersen, W. Zac Stephens, Ray Soto, Erin Bake, Ryan M. O’Connell and June L. Round. Cell Host and Microbe, Jan. 22, 2015
The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation, Sidney Kimmel Foundation, Pew Scholars Program, and Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering