Preclinical Study: Probiotic-Derived Molecule May Suppress Fatal Brain Inflammation

bioengineer | May 14, 2019

The existence of certain microorganisms in your gut may bolster the immune system’s ability to fend off a herpes viral attack that can cause fatal brain inflammation, reports a new City of Hope-led study. Researchers say the findings are the first to suggest that an envelope molecule from a bacterium called Bacteroides fragilis (B. fragilis) might be useful against viral inflammatory diseases. Called capsular polysaccharide A (PSA), the envelope molecule appears to promote protective, anti-inflammatory responses during a viral infection, said Ramakrishna Chandran, Ph.D., and Edouard Cantin, Ph.D., authors of the study and virology and immunology experts at City of Hope. “This mouse study shows that B. fragilis PSA can temper the immune system so that infection does not result in an uncontrolled, potentially fatal inflammatory response in the brain,” Cantin said. “Although herpes simplex encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation disorder, the lessons we learned here might, with more research, be applicable to other viral infections such as other herpesviruses, influenza virus, West Nile virus and maybe even viral respiratory diseases – conditions where inflammation begins to jeopardize the health of your body and brain function.” Herpes simplex encephalitis affects about 2,000 people in the United States each year and has a high mortality rate if symptoms are not recognized and patients aren’t treated promptly; survivors usually have serious neurological conditions. About 70% of untreated individuals die, according to multiple scientific reports.

Spotlight

We couldn't live without water. But if we drink too much, it can wreak havoc on our brain and body. Drinking more water than your kidneys can process can throw your blood sodium levels out of balance. That's called water intoxication. And in extreme cases, it can cause brain damage, comas, and even death.

Spotlight

We couldn't live without water. But if we drink too much, it can wreak havoc on our brain and body. Drinking more water than your kidneys can process can throw your blood sodium levels out of balance. That's called water intoxication. And in extreme cases, it can cause brain damage, comas, and even death.

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