Gut microbiota affects intestinal integrity

August 13, 2014

Bacteria in the gut help the body to digest food, and stimulate the immune system. A PhD project at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, examines whether modulations of the gut bacterial composition affect intestinal integrity, i.e. the ability of the body to maintain a well-regulated barrier function that hinders bacteria from entering the body unintentionally.

The contains more than 100 trillion bacteria, which help the body digest , produce vitamins protect against disease-provoking bacteria in food, and stimulate the immune system. All these are separated from the rest of the body by the , which functions as a selective barrier aimed at allowing only useful substances to pass and be absorbed in the body.

Ellen Gerd Christensen, PhD student at the National Food Institute, has examined whether a change in gut bacterial composition affects intestinal integrity. Results show that increased intake of whole-grain wheat increases the number of bifidobacteria, which are considered beneficial for human health. In addition, the study indicated that bifidobacteria may have a negative effect on intestinal integrity. However, subsequent animal testing in rats showed no changes in intestinal integrity after dosing with live .

Antibiotics also have an effect

In addition, experiments in rats showed that administration of antibiotics, which cause immense changes in the bacterial gut composition, have an effect on intestinal integrity in either a positive or negative direction, depending on the specific antibiotics.

The findings of this PhD project can be used to clarify how changes in the composition of the natural gut bacterial community may affect intestinal function and permeability.

Explore further: Bacterial imbalance contributes to intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis

More information: Read Ellen Gerd Christensen's PhD thesis (PDF):

Related Stories

Gut microbe levels are linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity

June 23, 2014

People with Type 2 diabetes or obesity have changes in the composition of their intestinal micro-organisms—called the gut microbiota—that healthy people do not have, researchers from Turkey have found. They presented ...

'Normal' bacteria vital for keeping intestinal lining intact

August 1, 2014

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that bacteria that aid in digestion help keep the intestinal lining intact. The findings, reported online in the journal Immunity, could yield ...

Recommended for you

Damaged nerve cells communicate with stem cells

October 7, 2015

Nerve cells damaged in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), 'talk' to stem cells in the same way that they communicate with other nerve cells, calling out for 'first aid', according to new research from the University ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.