Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fatty acid produced by gut bacteria boosts the immune system

Date:
November 13, 2013
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
New research sheds light on the role of gut bacteria on the maturation of the immune system and provides evidence supporting the use of butyrate as therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease.

In a mouse model for experimental colitis, a diet supplemented with butyric acid (SB, right panels) leads to decreased infiltration of inflammatory cells (CD4+ T cells [green] in the upper panels, and CD11b+ macrophages [red] and CD11c+ dendritic cells [green] in the lower panels), compared to those ingesting the diet without butyrate supplementation (control, left panels).
Credit: RIKEN

New research from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan sheds light on the role of gut bacteria on the maturation of the immune system and provides evidence supporting the use of butyrate as therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease.

Published in the journal Nature today, the Japanese study shows that butyrate, a by-product of the digestion of dietary fiber by gut microbes, acts as an epigenetic switch that boosts the immune system by inducing the production of regulatory T cells in the gut.

Previous studies have shown that patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease lack butyrate-producing bacteria and have lower levels of butyrate in their gut. However, butyrate's anti-inflammatory properties were attributed to its role as main energy source for the cells lining the colon. This study is the first to provide a molecular basis for the role of butyrate on the production of regulatory T lymphocytes.

The Japanese team, lead by Dr Hiroshi Ohno from RIKEN in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and Keio University, investigated the molecular mechanisms by which commensal microbes augment the number of regulatory T cells (Treg cells) present in the colon of mice that were bred germ-free.

Their research demonstrates that butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid produced by commensal bacteria acts on naοve T cells to promote their differentiation into Treg cells. It achieves this through epigenetic changes that regulate the expression of the genes responsible for differentiation of naοve T cells into Treg cells.

The study shows that mice suffering from colitis see their levels of Treg cells increase and their symptoms improve after administration of butyrate as part of their diet.

"Regulatory T cells are important for the containment of excessive inflammatory responses as well as autoimmune disorders. Therefore these findings could be applicable for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), allergy and autoimmune disease," said Dr Hiroshi Ohno.

"Butyrate is natural and safe as a therapy and in addition to that it is cheap, which could reduce costs for both patients and society," Dr Ohno added.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yukihiro Furusawa, Yuuki Obata, Shinji Fukuda, Takaho A. Endo, Gaku Nakato, et al. Commensal microbe-derived butyrate induces the differentiation of colonic regulatory T cells. Nature, 2013 DOI: 10.1038/nature12721

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "Fatty acid produced by gut bacteria boosts the immune system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132202.htm>.
RIKEN. (2013, November 13). Fatty acid produced by gut bacteria boosts the immune system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132202.htm
RIKEN. "Fatty acid produced by gut bacteria boosts the immune system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132202.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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