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Dr. Lamm's weekly review of relevant articles and research

There is an increasing amount of information available about the gut.  Here are a few informative articles you may find valuable.

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Gut Bacteria and Salmonella

Contact killing of Salmonella by human fecal bacteria

Contact: Andrew Chapple, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Norwich BioScience Institutes, Public release date: 23-Apr-2013.  

View release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/nbi-cko042313.php

55605 relIMAGE: Scanning electron microscopy reveals cell contact in a mixed culture of fecal bacteria andSalmonella. In the paper the IFR scientists demonstrated thatSalmonella is inactivated by fecal bacteria but...Click here for more information.

Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, numbering more than the cells in the rest of our body, and these bacteria help us to digest our food, absorb nutrients and strengthen our immune system. This complex bacterial ecosystem, called the gut microbiota, also helps to prevent bad bacteria from colonising our bodies and making us ill. IMAGE:

As part of the symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiota and our bodies, the bacteria derive nutrition from our food and convert it into compounds that we can't make ourselves. Some of these compounds are part of the arsenal that combats harmful bacteria. To date, these extracellular products are the only identified defense mechanisms associated with gut.

55604 webIMAGE: This is part of IFR's model colon. Click here for more information.

Researchers at the Institute of Food Research, which is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, have recently found a novel mode of interaction between Salmonella, a foodborne pathogen, and the gut bacteria that leads to the inactivation of Salmonella.

This interaction requires very close proximity or cell contact. This new way of interaction between the "good" and the" bad" bacteria may contribute to prevent intestinal colonization and infection by foodborne pathogens.

The researchers collected faecal samples from several healthy human donors and used the experimental colon model facility of the Institute of Food Research to culture faecal bacteria together with Salmonella under conditions that mimicked those in the human colon. Gut bacteria effectively inactivated Salmonella in mixed cultures but only when cell contact between both populations was possible. Salmonella inactivation was not observed when a membrane was included into the system to prevent cell contact between populations.

To understand the way Salmonella is inactivated by contact with faecal bacteria, a mathematical model was developed. This 'predator-prey' type model will now be useful for finding ways of applying this new finding to ongoing efforts to reduce Salmonellainfection.

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The human immune system in space

Cells sent up on final flight of shuttle program may help answer important questions about the effects of microgravity on the human body 

Contact: Angela Hopp,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Public release date: 22-Apr-2013

BOSTON — When the space shuttle Atlantis touched down in the summer of 2011 at Cape Canaveral, closing the book on the U.S. shuttle program, a team of U.S. Army researchers stood at the ready, eager to get their gloved hands on a small device in the payload that housed a set of biological samples. On Monday, April 22, at the Experimental Biology 2013 conference in Boston, the team will present the results of nearly two years' worth of study on those samples, results that shed light on how the human immune system responds to stress and assaults while in space – and maybe here on Earth.

"Weakening of the immune system associated with spaceflight is an area that needs a thorough investigation," said Marti Jett, director of the Integrative Systems Biology Program at the U.S. Army Medical Command. "Astronauts subjected to microgravity have shown a significant immune weakening. Furthermore, microgravity has been shown to enhance bacterial virulence while depressing the immune response."

Among the tasks completed by the four-person crew of the orbiter Atlantis were experiments on human cells using a common component of an Earth-dwelling microorganism that plays a role in septic shock. The experiments were designed, overseen remotely and replicated on Earth under normal gravity conditions by the army team, led by Rasha Hammamieh, deputy director of the Integrative Systems Biology Program, which is based at the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

"There's an increased risk of infection due to altered bacterial growth in microgravity. Wounds heal poorly in microgravity. So the question investigated was 'In what way does the host response to pathogen differ in microgravity versus on Earth?'" Hammamieh explained. The research team set out to investigate the molecular cascade of events that occur in human endothelial cells in response to exposure to the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide, or LPS, from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria.

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A short History of Lactose

Nutrition, population growth and disease: a short history of lactose.
Brüssow H. Environ Microbiol. 2013 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12117. 

Source
Nestlé Research Center Lausanne, BioAnalytical Science Department, Food and Health Microbiology, CH-1000, Lausanne, 26, Switzerland.Environ Microbiol. 2013 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12117. [Epub ahead of print]
Nutrition, population growth and disease: a short history of lactose.
Brüssow H.

Source
Nestlé Research Center Lausanne, BioAnalytical Science Department, Food and Health Microbiology, CH-1000, Lausanne, 26, Switzerland.

Abstract
Food and nutrition have played a crucial role in biological evolution. Lactation in mammals was one key invention. A central role in milk is played by lactose, otherwise an exotic sugar in nature. Lactose digestion needs the induction of specialized gut enzymes. This enzyme is shut off in a precisely timed developmental step leading to lactose malabsorption promoting weaning in the young and ovulation in the mother. The lactose-lactase system could thus regulate optimal birth spacing in land mammals. The domestication of cattle promoted milk as a food item also for adult nutrition. This was only possible by two further key inventions: the concomitant domestication of lactic acid bacteria which ferment the non-digestible lactose to the easily absorbed lactic acid and the mutation to lactase persistence (LP) in adults from dairy societies. This mutation represents one of the strongest selected loci of the human genome. Since no crucial nutritional selective advantage is conferred by LP, its dominance might be the result of indirect effects like the spread of cattle pathogens into humans. Lactase is also temporarily lost in rotavirus and Escherichia coli childhood diarrhoea and persistent diarrhoea is consequently best treated with lactose-free diets.

© 2013 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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