The bowels of infection

Oct 21, 2009

Current research suggests that latent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The related report by Onyeagocha et al, "Latent cytomegalovirus infection exacerbates experimental colitis," appears in the November 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

CMV infects between 50% and 80% of adults in the United States. Most people who are infected have no symptoms, and the virus remains hidden but inactive in the body for the rest of the person's life unless activated by suppression of the immune system.

IBD, which affects between 1 and 1.4 million people in the United States, causes pain, vomiting, and diarrhea in affected individuals as well as leads to an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Acute CMV infection exacerbates IBD; however, the effects of latent CMV infection on the development and/or severity of IBD have not been studied.

Researchers led by Dr. Andrew Gewirtz at Emory University in Atlanta, GA therefore examined IBD development in mice with latent CMV infection. They found that while latent CMV infection did not induce IBD, it exacerbated the severity of intestinal inflammation if colitis were already present. In addition, CMV infection resulted in increased levels of intestinal and heightened immune responses to normally harmless bacteria found in the intestine; which are associated with IBD severity. Therefore, modulation of mucosal immunity by latent CMV infection may contribute to the of IBD.

Onyeagocha et al suggest that "latent infection by CMV, and perhaps other common viruses, may modulate mucosal immunity and, consequently, alter one's susceptibility to developing severe acute colitis in response to various challenges and, consequently, may predispose to developing IBD." In future studies, Dr. Gewirtz and colleagues plan to use "retrospective serologic analysis [to] confirm the notion that latent CMV infection increases risk of developing IBD. [Although vaccines to CMV are no yet available, these results suggest that] it may be advisable to consider vaccinating healthy young populations against this virus even in the absence of any risk factors that such individuals are ever likely to be in an immunocompromised state."

More information: Onyeagocha C, Hossain MS, Kumar A, Jones RM, Roback J, Gewirtz AT: Latent Cytomegalovirus Infection Exacerbates Experimental Colitis. Am J Pathol 2009 175: 2028-2036

Source: (news : web)

Explore further: Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vaccine against CMV shows promise in clinical trial

Mar 18, 2009

A new vaccine has the potential to be the first to prevent maternal and congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) study published in the March 19 edition of the New En ...

It pays to be careful post-kidney transplant

Sep 18, 2009

For kidney transplant recipients, infection with a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) may lead to devastating complications. New research suggests that extending the period of preventive treatment after kidney ...

Common virus could cause high blood pressure

May 15, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study suggests for the first time that cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common viral infection affecting between 60 and 99 percent of adults worldwide, is a cause of high blood pressure, a leading ...

New vaccine prevents CMV infection and disease in mice

Jun 22, 2007

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have patented a strategy for developing a human vaccine to prevent against Human Cytomegalovirus (hCMV) infection ...

Recommended for you

Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel

10 hours ago

(AP)—Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world's deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa's largest city with 21 million ...

Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia

10 hours ago

(AP)—Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people and sickened more than 700 are set to go to trial this week in Georgia.

Remote tribe members enter another village, catch flu

18 hours ago

Advocates for indigenous tribes are worried over incidents last month when some members of one of the last uncontacted tribes in the Peru/Brazil region, across borders, left their home in Peru and entered ...

Nigeria on red alert after first Ebola death

Jul 26, 2014

Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on Saturday, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital.

User comments : 0