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'Normal' bacteria vital for keeping intestinal lining intact
Date:8/1/2014

ing a protein in the nuclei of intestinal epithelial cells called the pregnane X receptor (PXR). PXR was known to be activated by chemicals within the body (such as bile acids) as well as by drugs including steroids and antibiotics.

In a series of mouse studies, the researchers found that a metabolite called indole 3-propionic acid (IPA)produced exclusively by so-called commensal bacteria, which aid in digestionboth strengthens the intestinal epithelium's barrier function and prevents its inflammation by activating PXR. More specifically, PXR activation suppresses production of an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) while increasing levels of a protein that strengthens the junctions between adjacent intestinal epithelial cells.

"By adding probiotics in the form of IPA-producing bacteria to the intestine or by administering IPA directly, we may be able to prevent or treat IBD and other inflammatory disorders that occur when the intestinal epithelium has been compromised," said Dr. Mani. "Such a strategy could also be tried for other health problems that may occur when the intestinal epithelium breaks down, including certain forms of liver disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, obesity and heart disease."

Dr. Mani's team is now developing novel probiotics aimed at restoring the intestinal epithelium's barrier function by encouraging IPA's interaction with PXR.


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Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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