One bacterium brings on the T cells

Jan 31, 2011
Clostridium species indigenous to the murine colon stimulate intestinal epithelial cells to produce TGF-b, resulting in the accumulation of Foxp3-expressing Treg cells and their IL-10 production in the colon, which contributes to suppression of unfavorable inflammations and allergic responses. Credit: Science/ AAAS

How exactly do the countless microbes that call our bodies "home" help us to maintain healthy immune systems?

A new study with mice, published last week in Science, has shown that specific bacteria of the genus Clostridium promote the generation of , or Treg cells, in the mouse colon -- a discovery that suggests new therapeutic approaches to allergies and autoimmunity.

Koji Atarashi and colleagues first eliminated all the bacteria from the colons of mice and found that populations of colonic Treg cells plummeted.

By dosing those bacteria-free mice with a certain mix of Clostridium strains, the researchers observed a return of those Treg cells to the colon.

The researchers also found that feeding wild-type mice (with all their commensal bacteria intact) the Clostridium bacteria produced elevated levels of Treg cells in the mice and helped the rodents to ward off autoimmune and other allergies.

These data highlight how these particular Clostridium bacteria help to regulate specific immune cell populations, and in the future the findings might even be used to improve treatment for certain .

Explore further: Scientists reveal unique mechanism of natural product with powerful antimicrobial action

More information: "Induction of colonic regulatory T cells by indigenous Clostridium species," by K. Atarashi et al., Science, January 2010.

Related Stories

Researchers identify a cell type that limits stroke damage

Jan 27, 2009

A research team including Serge Rivest of University Laval's Faculty of Medicine has demonstrated the existence of a type of cells that limits brain damage after a stroke. The study was recently published in the online version ...

'First aid' for brain cells comes from blood

Apr 16, 2009

In acute ischemic stroke, the blood supply to the brain is restricted. Initially, brain cells die from lack of oxygen. In addition, ischemia activates harmful inflammatory processes in the affected area of the brain. For ...

Pancreatic cancer fights off immune attack

Aug 30, 2007

Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum) and the Heidelberg University Hospitals have discovered that pancreatic cancer attracts regulatory T cells, which suppress the activity of ...

Recommended for you

How a deadly fungus evades the immune system

1 hour ago

New research from the University of Toronto has scientists re-thinking how a lethal fungus grows and kills immune cells. The study hints at a new approach to therapy for Candida albicans, one of the most c ...

Compound from soil microbe inhibits biofilm formation

19 hours ago

Researchers have shown that a known antibiotic and antifungal compound produced by a soil microbe can inhibit another species of microbe from forming biofilms—microbial mats that frequently are medically harmful—without ...

Researcher among best in protein modeling contests

22 hours ago

A Purdue University researcher ranks among the best in the world in bioinformatics competitions to predict protein structure, docking and function, making him a triple threat in the world of protein modeling.

Survey of salmonella species in Staten Island Zoo's snakes

23 hours ago

For humans, Salmonella is always bad news. The bacterial pathogen causes paratyphoid fever, gastroenteritis and typhoid. But for snakes, the bacteria aren't always bad news. Certain species of Salmonella are a natural part ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.