Specific bacterial species may initiate, maintain Crohn's

October 22, 2012, American Society for Microbiology

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

E. coli—are we measuring the wrong thing?

April 25, 2018
A sepsis awareness and management programme has demonstrated overall success in terms of improved sepsis detection, but has led to an increase in the number of E. coli blood stream infection cases presented, calling into ...

Malaria study reveals gene variants linked to risk of disease

April 25, 2018
Many people of African heritage are protected against malaria by inheriting a particular version of a gene, a large-scale study has shown.

Commonly prescribed heartburn drug linked to pneumonia in older adults

April 24, 2018
Researchers at the University of Exeter have found a statistical link between pneumonia in older people and a group of medicines commonly used to neutralise stomach acid in people with heartburn or stomach ulcers. Although ...

Kids with rare rapid-aging disease get hope from study drug

April 24, 2018
Children with a rare, incurable disease that causes rapid aging and early death may live longer if treated with an experimental drug first developed for cancer patients, a study suggests.

Early treatment for leg ulcers gets patients back on their feet

April 24, 2018
Treating leg ulcers within two weeks by closing faulty veins improves healing by 12 per cent compared to standard treatment, according to new findings.

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection

April 20, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

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.