Clear Links Found Between Inflammation, Bacterial Communities and Cancer
ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2012) — What if a key factor ultimately behind a cancer was not a genetic defect but ecological?
Ecologists have long known that when some major change disturbs an environment in some way, ecosystem structure is likely to change dramatically. Further, this shift in interconnected species’ diversity, abundances, and relationships can in turn have a transforming effect on health of the whole landscape — causing a rich woodland or grassland to become permanently degraded, for example — as the ecosystem becomes unstable and then breaks down the environment.
For this reason, it should come as no surprise that a significant disturbance in the human body can profoundly alter the makeup of otherwise stable microbial communities co-existing within it and that changes in the internal ecology known as the human microbiome can result in unexpected and drastic consequences for human health.
A report published in the August 16 online edition of the journal Science gives evidence for such a chain reaction. It has long been known that gut inflammation is a risk factor for cancer. The new study suggests that this may be in part because inflammation disturbs gut ecosystems leading to conditions that allow pathogens to invade the gut. These pathogens may damage host cells increasing the risk of the development of colorectal cancer.
The researchers noted that the mouse results may have implications for human health as well, as they also found an E. coli variant with the suspect genes in high percentages of human patients with colorectal cancer and irritable bowel disease.
Application of novel PCR-based methods for detection, quantitation, and phylogenetic characterization of Sutterella species in intestinal biopsy samples from children with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Here we describe an association between high levels of intestinal, mucoepithelial-associated Sutterella species and GI disturbances in children with autism. These findings elevate this little-recognized bacterium to the forefront by demonstrating that Sutterella is a major component of the microbiota in over half of children with autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction (AUT-GI) and is absent in children with only gastrointestinal dysfunction (Control-GI) evaluated in this study. Furthermore, these findings bring into question the role Sutterella plays in the human microbiota in health and disease. With the Sutterella-specific molecular assays described here, some of these questions can begin to be addressed.