How the immune system maintains a healthy gut microbiota

Medical Xpress | February 27, 2019

Researchers from Universitätsmedizin Berlin have uncovered a critical mechanism that controls immune reactions against microorganisms in the intestine. The results of the international study may contribute to the development of new therapies for chronic inflammatory bowel disease. The study is published in the journal Nature Immunology. The immune system protects against the spread of pathogenic germs in the intestine. At the same time, it allows the colonization of beneficial microorganisms. Conversely, the composition of the microorganisms in the intestine, the microbiota, has an influence on the quality of the immune reaction. An international research group led by Prof. Dr. Alexander Scheffold of Kiel University (CAU) has uncovered a critical mechanism that establishes the balance between immune system and microbiota. The researchers Dr. Christian Neumann (Charité), Dr. Sascha Rutz (Genentech, San Francisco), Prof. Dr. Axel Kallies (University of Melbourne and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne), Prof. Scheffold and colleagues studied molecular regulators of immune-microbiome interactions in mice. The team focused on so-called regulatory T cells. These are immune cells that prevent harmless or even useful microorganisms in the intestine from being attacked by the immune system.

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Gene editing* is a process that repairs or changes a gene. Medical researchers are exploring ways to use gene editing to treat or prevent human diseases. According to a recent public opinion survey, Americans are both excited and concerned about this. 1 Given the complexity of gene editing and the rapid pace at which the science is progressing, it is no wonder that the public is both intrigued and perhaps uneasy

Spotlight

Gene editing* is a process that repairs or changes a gene. Medical researchers are exploring ways to use gene editing to treat or prevent human diseases. According to a recent public opinion survey, Americans are both excited and concerned about this. 1 Given the complexity of gene editing and the rapid pace at which the science is progressing, it is no wonder that the public is both intrigued and perhaps uneasy

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