Bacteria travel from gut, cause autoimmune response: Yale researchers

Bacteria travel from gut, cause autoimmune response: Yale researchers

JAIPUR: Research from Yale University in the US has shown that bacteria in the gut could travel or “translocate” to other organs and trigger autoimmune response. This could be suppressed by antibiotics or vaccines that target the bacteria.

The research paper, published online two days ago on the journal Science, explains that bacteria in the small intestines of mice and humans can travel to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response. This research suggests promising new approaches in treating chronic autoimmune conditions, including systemic lupus and autoimmune liver disease.


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Website Science Daily, reporting the findings, said gut bacteria are linked to a range of diseases, including autoimmune conditions characterised by immune system attack of healthy tissue. The Yale research team focused on Enterococcus gallinarum, a bacterium they discovered that is able to spontaneously “translocate” outside of the gut to lymph nodes, the liver, and spleen.

The website explained: “In models of genetically susceptible mice, the researchers observed that in tissues outside the gut, E. gallinarum initiated the production of auto-antibodies and inflammation – hallmarks of the autoimmune response. They confirmed the same mechanism of inflammation in cultured liver cells of healthy people, and the presence of this bacterium in livers of patients with autoimmune disease.”

Researchers also established that they could suppress autoimmunity in mice with an antibiotic or a vaccine aimed at E. gallinarum, which blocked the pathway leading to inflammation.