Specific bacterial species may initiate, maintain Crohn's

October 22, 2012

Patients newly diagnosed with pediatric Crohn's disease had significantly different levels of certain types of bacteria in their intestinal tracts than age-matched controls, according to a paper in the October Journal of Clinical Microbiology. The work may ultimately lead to treatment involving manipulation of the intestinal bacteria.

The research grew out of many years' study of , a particular focus being the role of mucus-associated bacteria in , says Hazel M. Mitchell of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, the principle investigator on the study.

"We deliberately chose to examine children newly diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, as we thought this would increase our chances of detecting species that may be involved in initiating Crohn's disease," she says, noting that confounding factors potentially affecting intestinal flora such as antibiotic or anti-inflammatory intake, smoking, or , are less likely to be present in such children than in adults.

Of particular interest was the finding that one group of bacteria, known as Proteobacteria, was present at higher levels in mild cases, as compared with moderate to severe disease, and controls. That finding, "suggests that this group may play a role in initiation of the disease," says Mitchell, who credits her colleague Nadeem O. Kaakoush with much of the thought and laboratory work behind the study. "The latter finding is consistent with recent studies showing that members of the Proteobacteria, including E. coli and Campylobacter concisus may play a role in initiating ," says Mitchell.

There had been an indication that such was the case, prior to the current study, when the team's earlier research revealed C. concisus to be present in children who already had Crohn's, but not in healthy controls. That information in hand, the researchers grew C. concisus from biopsy specimens from Crohn's children and examined their ability to attach and invade intestinal cells, as compared with strains grown from patients with gastroenteritis, and healthy controls. That research showed that only specific C. concisus strains could invade intestinal cells, that these strains were associated with Crohn's, and that they carried a plasmid which was absent from noninvasive C. concisus strains.

But studies examining dysbiosis (out of balance microbial populations) in adults with Crohn's were inconsistent. That led Mitchell and her colleages to conduct the current study in children with newly diagnosed Crohn's. The results support the theory that Crohn's is linked to a gastrointestinal imbalance in the microbiota, says Mitchell. The bacteria associated with mild disease, including C. concisus, may be initiating infection, she says.

Explore further: Inflammation drives Crohn's disease, says study

More information: N.O. Kaakoush, A.S. Day, K.D. Huinao, S.T. Leach, D.A. Lemberg, S.E. Dowd, and H.M. Mitchell, 2012. Microbial dysbiosis in pediatric patients with Crohn's Disease. J. Clin Microbiol. 50:3258-3266.

Related Stories

Inflammation drives Crohn's disease, says study

August 16, 2012
Inflammation -- not genetic susceptibility -- drives the growth of intestinal bacteria and invasive E. coli linked to Crohn's disease (CD), reports a new Cornell study.

Researchers pinpoint role of key proteins in Crohn's Disease

June 14, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered the role the interactions between key proteins plays in the body’s response to Crohn’s Disease - a revelation that may lead to the development ...

Adalimumab is a promising therapy for children with Crohn's disease

August 6, 2012
Adalimumab (an anti-tumor necrosis factor [TNF] antibody) is effective in maintaining remission in certain pediatric patients with Crohn's disease, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the ...

Recommended for you

Novel approach to track HIV infection

August 18, 2017
Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed a novel method of tracking HIV infection, allowing the behavior of individual virions—infectious particles—to be connected to infectivity.

Faulty gene linked to obesity in adults

August 18, 2017
Groundbreaking new research linking obesity and metabolic dysfunction to a problem in the energy generators in cells has been published by researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University ...

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

Addressing superbug resistance with phage therapy

August 16, 2017
International research involving a Monash biologist shows that bacteriophage therapy – a process whereby bacterial viruses attack and destroy specific strains of bacteria - can be used successfully to treat systemic, multidrug ...

Can previous exposure to west Nile alter the course of Zika?

August 15, 2017
West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone ...

0 comments

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.