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

May 14, 2019 / Zen Vuong

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 h...