Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Role of fungus in digestive disorders explored

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers say their examination of the fungi in the intestines suggests an important link between these microbes and inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis. In the new study researchers identified and characterized the large community of fungi inhabiting the large intestine in a model of the disease.

Cedars-Sinai researchers say their examination of the fungi in the intestines suggests an important link between these microbes and inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Credit: Nataliya Hora / Fotolia

Cedars-Sinai researchers say their examination of the fungi in the intestines suggests an important link between these microbes and inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

In the new study, published in the June 8 issue of Science, researchers at Cedars-Sinai's Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute identified and characterized the large community of fungi inhabiting the large intestine in a model of the disease.

The digestive tract is home to a large number of micro-organisms. In fact, with an estimated 100 trillion bacteria residing in the gut, microbes outnumber human cells in the body. Some are necessary to aid in digesting food, producing necessary vitamins and suppressing the growth of harmful microbes. Others are harmful to the body, contributing to illnesses such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and obesity.

Modern DNA-sequencing technology has revolutionized the study of these microbes in the last decade, allowing the role of bacteria in disease to be understood more clearly, as is shown in the Cedars-Science research published in Science.

"It's long been recognized that fungi must also exist in the gut, but we're among the first to investigate what types, how many, and whether they're important in disease," said David Underhill, PhD, associate professor and director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine, who led the study. "We were truly stunned to see just how common fungi are, identifying more than 100 different types" and seeing linkages to digestive disorders.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, a chronic digestive disorder, and about 30,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Ulcerative colitis, one of the most common types of IBD, causes inflammation and ulcers in the top layers of the lining of the large intestine. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. Ulcerative colitis patients can be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

"This study takes us an important step closer to understanding how fungi contribute to disease, as well as significantly expanding our understanding of what types of fungi are living in our bodies," said Iliyan Iliev, PhD, a Cedars-Sinai research scientist and lead author on the study.

To determine fungi contribute to inflammatory disease, the study homed in on a protein called Dectin-1, produced by white blood cells and used by the immune system to detect and kill fungi. In an animal model of the disease, researchers found that the protein is important in protecting against inflammation caused by indigenous fungi. The finding has significant implications for human disease, as scientists at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute found a variant of the gene for Dectin-1 that is strongly associated with severe forms of ulcerative colitis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Iliyan D. Iliev, Vincent A. Funari, Kent D. Taylor, Quoclinh Nguyen, Christopher N. Reyes, Samuel P. Strom, Jordan Brown, Courtney A. Becker, Phillip R. Fleshner, Marla Dubinsky, Jerome I. Rotter, Hanlin L. Wang, Dermot P. B. McGovern, Gordon D. Brown, and David M. Underhill. Interactions Between Commensal Fungi and the C-Type Lectin Receptor Dectin-1 Influence Colitis. Science, 6 June 2012 DOI: 10.1126/science.1221789

Cite This Page:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Role of fungus in digestive disorders explored." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606142701.htm>.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (2012, June 6). Role of fungus in digestive disorders explored. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606142701.htm
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Role of fungus in digestive disorders explored." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606142701.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins