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Probiotics appear to mitigate pancreatitis: Surprising hypothetical mechanism warrants further investigation

Date:
November 16, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
A probiotic treatment appears to mitigate pancreatitis in an animal model, leading to a new hypothesis of how probiotics may act, according to a new study. The bacterial species most closely associated with improvement in health was discovered for the first time in the course of this research.
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A probiotic treatment appears to mitigate pancreatitis in an animal model, leading to a new hypothesis of how probiotics may act, according to a paper in the November Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The bacterial species most closely associated with improvement in health was discovered for the first time in the course of this research.

Severe acute pancreatitis is a critical illness that is characterized by intestinal barrier dysfunction. While it is usually self-limiting, in 20 to 30 percent of cases patients develop serious disease, including systemic inflammatory response syndrome, sepsis, and/or multiple organ dysfunction, which frequently cause death.

In this study, Jacoline Gerritsen of University Medical Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and her collaborators gave one group of rats probiotic on a daily basis, beginning five days before they induced acute pancreatitis, and continuing briefly afterwards, before they sacrificed the animals. Another set of rats received a placebo.

The major finding: in the small intestine, higher than normal numbers of the newly discovered bacterium, "commensal rat ileum bacterium" (CRIB) were correlated with reduced severity of acute pancreatitis in animals that had been fed probiotic. These animals had less infection of remote organs, less infection of dying and dead pancreatic tissues, and less severe immune response during acute pancreatitis, as demonstrated by lower plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines. CRIB, a member of the genus Clostridium, is not a constituent of the probiotic (Ecologic 641), but rather a benign bacterium that normally inhabits the lower gut. "…these results suggest that effects of this multispecies probiotic mixture… are mediated by stimulation of a not previously described gut commensal bacterium… which protects the host from severe sepsis," according to the report.

"This research has provided new knowledge on the possible mechanisms behind probiotic action," says Gerritsen. "In addition, it shows that bacterial species inhabiting the small intestine might be very important for health. Up until now, medical researchers have neglected the small intestine, because it is very difficult to obtain such samples from humans." That needs to change, she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Gerritsen, H. M. Timmerman, S. Fuentes, L. P. van Minnen, H. Panneman, S. R. Konstantinov, F. M. Rombouts, H. G. Gooszen, L. M. A. Akkermans, H. Smidt, G. T. Rijkers. Correlation between Protection against Sepsis by Probiotic Therapy and Stimulation of a Novel Bacterial Phylotype. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; 77 (21): 7749 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.05428-11

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American Society for Microbiology. "Probiotics appear to mitigate pancreatitis: Surprising hypothetical mechanism warrants further investigation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116192955.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, November 16). Probiotics appear to mitigate pancreatitis: Surprising hypothetical mechanism warrants further investigation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116192955.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Probiotics appear to mitigate pancreatitis: Surprising hypothetical mechanism warrants further investigation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116192955.htm (accessed April 28, 2015).

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