BETHESDA, Md. (Oct. 26, 2009) The probiotic, Bacillus polyfermenticus, can help mice recover from colitis, a new study has found. Mice treated with B. polyfermenticus during the non-inflammatory period of the disease had reduced rectal bleeding, their tissues were less inflamed and they gained more weight than mice that did not receive the treatment.
Colitis is a disease in which the inner tissue of the colon, the mucosa, becomes inflamed and damaged and can result in painful sores. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two major types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It is not yet known what causes the diseases, but both are believed to be the result of altered intestinal immune responses in genetically predisposed individuals.
A probiotic is a live microorganism -- in this case, a bacterium -- that benefits its host. B. polyfermenticus is available in Japan and Korea to treat intestinal disorders such as diarrhea and constipation. The bacterium is quite hardy and can survive the hostile environment of the stomach and intestine.
The study not only provided evidence of B. polyfermenticus' usefulness in treating colitis during the non-inflammatory phase, but also showed that it works by healing intestinal wounds more quickly by encouraging the growth of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis.
The study, "The angiogenic effect of probiotic Bacillus polyfermenticus on human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells is mediated by IL-8," appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. The authors are Eunok Im, Yoon Jeong Choi, Cho Hee Kim, Charalabos Pothoulakis and Sang Hoon Rhee, all of the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles and Claudio Fiocchi, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland. The American Physiological Society (
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American Physiological Society