A fungus usually found on skin might play a role in Crohn's disease

Medical Xpress | March 05, 2019

A fungus usually found on skin might play a role in Crohn's disease
A fungus commonly found in human hair follicles also resides in the gut, where it may worsen intestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in patients with a certain genetic makeup, researchers report March 5 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Malassezia yeasts found in oily skin and scalp follicles are linked to skin conditions, including dandruff. These microscopic fungi also end up in the gut, but it's not known how or what they do there. "We were surprised to find that Malassezia restrict was more common on intestinal tissue surfaces in Crohn's disease patients than in healthy people," says co-author David Underhill, Janis and William Wetsman Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. "Further, the presence of Malassezia was linked to a common variation in a gene known to be important for immunity to fungi a genetic signature more common in patients with Crohn's disease than the healthy population."

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Research at the Department of Chemistry and Bioscience is diverse. We explore the building blocks of life to achieve new knowledge and provide platforms for industrial advances. The Department carries out education and research in chemistry, biology, biotechnology, environmental engineering and chemical engineering – including oil and gas technology. The research contributes to international state of the art and has impact on development of new technologies and products in industry.

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