Microbiome Bites November 7th
1. Why bacteria only cause acne in some people - and how to stop it
Acne affects 80% of us at some point in our lives, yet scientists still don’t understand what causes it. In a study published in the journal Science Immunology, a team at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that a harmless bacterium of the skin microbiome (Propionibacterium acnes) can turn nasty, triggering inflammation and zits, when it is trapped in airless, oily conditions like those found in hair follicles. The researchers suggest that teenagers are most vulnerable to outbreaks because surges in sex hormones during puberty drive the increased production of the oily substance sebum in the skin. This extra sebum enables any P. acnes in the hair follicles to produce more of the fatty acids that aggravate inflammation, leading to more spots. Read more here.
2. Using probiotics to treat IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex set of diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that affects millions worldwide. It is thought to arise due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause remains unknown. Overpopulation of a particular strain of E. coli, for instance, is linked to Crohn’s disease. In a study published in the journal Nature a team from the University of California Irvine, US, show beneficial probiotic bacteria secrete small proteins called microcins which give them a leg-up over harmful bacteria in the gut. In a mouse model of IBD, the probiotic bacteria colonized the inflamed gut, pushing out the disease-causing bacteria and reducing the inflammation. Read more here.
3. Chronic Sleep Disruption Alters Gut Microbiome
Fragmented sleep occurs in disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and leads to problems such as excessive tiredness during the daytime, increased appetite and subsequent weight gain. The gut microbiome has been implicated as a key component of these outcomes. In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers studying sleep fragmentation in mice have found that chronic sleep disruption initiates increases in fat mass, and induces selective alterations in the gut microbiome, which causes leaky gut and inflammation, as well as insulin resistance. Read more here.