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Frohe Weihnachten

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Quantitative microbiome profiling links gut community variation to microbial load

Changes of the microbiome composition are usually based on the relative number of taxa or metabolic pathways detected in a sample. Changes in the relative amount, however, do not give information, if a given fraction expanded or the other fractions were merely reduced. In addition, it is not possible to gain information on the overall microbial abundance. Vandeputte et al. combined flow cytometric analysis and amplicon sequencing for quantitative microbiome profiling. In a cohort of Chron’s disease patients, they identified the bacterial load as a key driver of observed microbiota alterations.

Original puplication:

Vandeputte, D., Kathagen, G., Falony, G., Raes, J., Sabino, J., Wang, J., D’hoe, K., Commer, L.D., Valles-Colomer, M., Tito, R.Y., et al. (2017). Quantitative microbiome profiling links gut community variation to microbial load. Nature 551, 507.

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Gut microbes could help trigger multiple sclerosis

A new study by Sergio Baranzini and colleagues links the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) with the gut microbiome. In their study, they could show that the two genera Actinobacter and Akkermansia were four times more abundant in MS patients than in healthy people. To understand the effect of these microbes on immune cells, the researchers took naïve immune cells from the blood of healthy individuals and exposed them to the gut microbes of MS patients. In the presence of Acinetobacter and Akkermansia the production of regulatory T cells was ramped down and the naïve immune cells became a specific type of T helper cell, known to trigger inflammation.




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Do we have the guts to lose our mind?

An international research team around Barbara B. Bendlin and Federico E. Rey could characterize the gut microbiome in humans with Alzheimer’s disease. They found not only decreased microbial diversity in the gut microbiome associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but also differences in composition. Alzheimer’s disease participants had decreased abundance in Firmicutes and Bifidobacterium whereas Bacteroidetes were increased.

They could also see a correlation between cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and differentially abundant genera in participants with and without clinical diagnosis of dementia.




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Lab mice with a natural gut microbiome are fitter

A natural gut microbiome helps lab mice to survive flu infections and prevents cancer development. This has been shown in a recent study by Barbara Rehermann and Stephan Rosshart published in Cell.

Rehermann and colleagues transplanted the gut microbiome from healthy, wild mice into lab mice. Then they exposed offspring of these lab mice to a flu virus and to conditions that cause colon cancer. About 92% of the mice which received a wild mouse gut microbiome survived the flu, compared with just 17% of untreated lab mice. Furthermore, the mice which received gut bacteria from wild mice had fewer tumors and less severe cancer.





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