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November 7, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


Elafin (in green) released by the recombinant bacteria at the surface of the colon
of a treated mouse. In red, epithelial cells. In blue, the nuclei of the cells.




WHO Child Growth Charts

       

New Bacteria to Fight Against Intestinal Inflammation

Different avenues are being explored to determine the origin of inflammatory bowel disease, known as IBD, including the role of genetic or environmental factors. Intestinal flora seems to play an important role in the outbreak of inflammation, and identifying an effective treatment is at the heart of the investigations

In France, nearly 200,000 individuals suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease, known as IBD, (specifically Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). The occurrence rate of this type of disease continues to rise (8,000 new cases diagnosed per year). During inflammatory outbreaks, IBDs are chiefly characterised by abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea (sometimes with bleeding) or even disorders in the anal area (fissure, abscesses). These symptoms mean that taboos are associated with these diseases.


Researchers are focussing on a human protein,
known for its anti-inflammatory proprieties: Elafin.
Although this protein is found naturally in the intestine
to protect it against attacks, it disappears in patients
suffering from IBDs.


Their hypothesis? Administering Elafin directly into the intestine could protect against inflammatory attacks and restore intestinal equilibrium and its functions.

Nathalie Vergnolle, director of research at Inserm, and her team at the Centre for Physiopathology at Toulouse Purpan (CPTP Inserm / Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier /CNRS), with Philippe Langella director of research at INRA and his team at the Institut Micalis (1), in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur, have recently succeeded in producing “beneficial bacteria” capable of protecting the body against intestinal inflammation.

This protection is provided by a human protein, Elafin, which is artificially introduced into dairy produce bacteria (Lactococcus lactis and Lactobacillus casei). In time, this discovery could be useful for individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

The results of this research were published in the Science Translational Medicine review on 31 October 2012.


Using non-pathogenic bacteria found naturally
in the intestine and food, scientists from Inserm
and Inra have designed modified bacteria to produce
the human Elafin gene. To this end, Elafin, isolated
in collaboration with a team from the Institut Pasteau,
was introduced in Lactococcus lactis and Lactobacillus
casei, two food-grade bacteria found in dairy products


Results in mice ...

When administered orally to mice, the human Elafin-producing bacteria are found a few hours later on the surface of the intestine where they deliver the anti-inflammatory protein. In different mice models of chronic or acute intestinal inflammation, oral treatment using these Elafin-producing bacteria provided significant protection of the intestine and decreased inflammatory symptoms.

Results in humans ...

Elafin expressed by these bacteria also protects cultured human intestinal cell lines from inflammatory outbreaks similar to those observed in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Elafin produced in this way restores the equilibrium of intestinal mucus by reducing inflammation and accelerating cell healing processes.

Potential clinical applications

These findings may result in a clinical application with Elafin administered to patients suffering from IBDs using beneficial bacteria (probiotic) – already commonly found in food (yogurt, cheese) – thus protecting the patients from inflammatory symptoms.

According to researchers “This kind of secure treatment could even be used over the long-term, to treat inflammatory diseases."

This research is protected by a patent and an exclusive licence assigned to an industrial partner, managed by Inserm Transfert.

Footnote:
(1) Institut MICrobiologie de l'ALImentation au Service de la Santé Humaine (INRA/AgroParisTech) in Jouy-en-Josas

Original article: http://english.inserm.fr/press-area/new-bacteria-to-fight-against-intestinal-inflammation