2016-06-27 18:20:18 UTC

Rethinking the Role of the Gut Microbiome in IBD

June 28, 2016

New CMGH research shows that microbial populations at mucosal surfaces are related, but distinct, in separate regions of the colon.

A new Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology (CMGH) article in press took a fresh look at examining the gut microbiome, and the result is a new understanding of the gut microbiome in IBD.

The intestinal microbiome has been the subject of intense scientific and general interest over the past decade, and changes have been correlated with disease states. Most of this work has, however, relied on analyses of microbes within stool, which may not be representative of microbial populations that interface directly with the intestinal lining, i.e. mucosal surface. Further, characterization of stool microbes does not allow analysis of differences that may be present in separate regions of the intestine.

In a new CMGH study, Xiaoxiao Li and colleagues analyzed microbial proteins at the surface of six separate sites within the colon of healthy subjects and those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The data show that microbial populations at mucosal surfaces are related, but distinct, in separate regions of the colon.

This suggests “we must change our view of the microbiome as a soup in which all components are present in equal proportions at all sites to that of a mosaic composed of networks reflecting local mucosal ecology,” said CMGH Editor-in-Chief Jerrold R. Turner, MD, PhD, AGAF. Such understanding is essential as efforts to manipulate the microbiome for therapeutic purposes continue.

Review the full, open-access article on the CMGH website.

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