High-fat diet hurts the microbiota in the oesophagus

April 3, 2017, University of New South Wales
High-fat diet hurts the microbiota in the oesophagus
Credit: University of New South Wales

UNSW researchers have observed how microbiota in the oesophagus is affected by a high-fat diet, depleting known beneficial bacteria and increasing the levels of "bad" bacteria.

The team's paper, published in Scientific Reports, found a high-fat affects the microbiota in the oesophagus of rats.

First author Dr Nadeem Kaakoush says two other interesting things were observed.

"The drops the levels of Lactobacillus species, well known to be beneficial and form part of different probiotics," he says.

"It gives us the idea that maybe we can counteract through probiotics the effects of unhealthy diets and obesity in the oesophagus as they are known risk factors for oesophageal disease.

"The other interesting observation was the increase of Fusobacterium species given that they have been associated with various diseases."

Fusobacterium has been linked to oral disease like periodontitis, as well as appendicitis, inflammatory bowel diseases and, more recently, colorectal cancers.

Now, Dr Kaakoush says they have a reason to look more closely at whether they also play a role in oesophageal adenocarcinoma, and what's known as the "cascade" of conditions that precede it.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) occurs when stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus, over time damaging the oesophagus walls.

This can cause the oesophageal cells to be replaced by cells more like acid-resistant intestinal cells, a condition called Barrett's oesophagus.

Oesophageal cancers are uncommon, occurring in 1300 people in Australia each year. However, the incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma is rising.

Dr Kaakoush, a Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow, says his team has started observing the microbiome in the human oesophagus.

A study from Japan in late 2016 has already established that Fusobacterium in the oesophagus of oesophageal patients is associated with shorter survival times.

"What we're interested in now is seeing if we increase the Lactobacillus species in the oesophagus, whether that is beneficial, and if we increase Fusobacterium in the oesophagus, does that have negative consequences?" he says.

"The other thing is the damage to the lining of the , and if we can connect that with the presence of Fusobacterium. That would be a pretty good indicator for us to say these bacteria are involved in this cascade."

Explore further: Trial to test for Barrett's oesophagus launches in GP surgeries across the UK

More information: Nadeem O. Kaakoush et al. Cross-talk among metabolic parameters, esophageal microbiota, and host gene expression following chronic exposure to an obesogenic diet, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep45753

Related Stories

Trial to test for Barrett's oesophagus launches in GP surgeries across the UK

March 28, 2017
A Cancer Research UK-funded trial allowing GP surgeries to test for Barrett's oesophagus – a condition that can increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer – launches in the UK today.

Sponge on a string test could replace endoscopies

November 10, 2016
Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered that a 'sponge on a string' pill test can identify which people with a condition called Barrett's oesophagus have a low risk of developing oesophageal cancer - sparing ...

Infrared light to detect early signs of esophageal cancer

September 6, 2016
Scientists have developed an endoscope that uses near-infrared light to spot early warning signs of oesophageal - food pipe - cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics today.

Swallowing a sponge on a string could replace endoscopy as pre-cancer test

November 3, 2014
Swallowing a sponge on a string could replace traditional endoscopy as an equally effective but less invasive way of diagnosing a condition that can be a forerunner of oesophageal cancer.

New test follows the molecular footsteps that lead to oesophageal cancer

June 23, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A new diagnostic test may be around the corner thanks to the discovery of a gene mutation that marks the progression from a harmless oesophageal condition to cancer, according to research published in Nature ...

Barrett's patients who smoke twice as likely to develop oesophageal cancer

January 30, 2012
Smoking doubles the risk of developing oesophageal cancer in people with Barrett's Oesophagus, according to scientists at Queen's University Belfast and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry.

Recommended for you

Iron triggers dangerous infection in lung transplant patients, study finds

February 21, 2018
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified elevated tissue iron as a risk factor for life-threatening fungal infections in lung transplant recipients.

Neuroimaging reveals lasting brain deficits in iron-deficient piglets

February 21, 2018
Iron deficiency in the first four weeks of a piglet's life - equivalent to roughly four months in a human infant - impairs the development of key brain structures, scientists report. The abnormalities remain even after weeks ...

Products derived from plants offer potential as dual-targeting agents for experimental cerebral malaria

February 21, 2018
Malaria, a life-threatening disease usually caused when parasites from the Plasmodium family enter the bloodstream of a person bitten by a parasite-carrying mosquito, is a severe health threat globally, with 200 to 300 million ...

Scientists in Germany improve malaria drug production

February 21, 2018
Scientists in Germany who developed a new way to make a key malaria drug several years ago said Wednesday they have come up with a technique to make the process even more efficient, which should increase global access and ...

Early results from clinical trials not all they're cracked up to be, shows new research

February 21, 2018
When people are suffering from a chronic medical condition, they may place their hope on treatments in clinical trials that show early positive results. However, these results may be grossly exaggerated in more than 1 in ...

Clues to obesity's roots found in brain's quality control process

February 20, 2018
Deep in the middle of our heads lies a tiny nub of nerve cells that play a key role in how hungry we feel, how much we eat, and how much weight we gain.

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.