Intestinal stem cells.

Gut microbes’ metabolite dampens proliferation of intestinal stem cells

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates stem cells located in “pockets” in the intestine avoid contact with a prominent metabolite produced by beneficial microbes living in the gut. That metabolite – butyrate – restricts the proliferation of stem cells, potentially hampering the intestine from repairing itself after an injury or damage.

Mimicking diet changes of global travel reveals clues to gut health​

With the growing understanding of the importance of gut bacteria in human health, researchers at the School of Medicine studied gut motility, measuring the transit time of food moving through the gastrointestinal tract in mice in a way that mimicked the dietary effects of world travel. The study demonstrates ways to uncover how even a single ingredient, such as turmeric, can affect health through interactions of diet and gut microbes.

Preemies’ gut bacteria may depend more on gestational age than environment

The population of bacteria in premature infants’ guts may depend more on the babies’ biological makeup and gestational age at birth than on environmental factors, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found. They discovered that bacterial communities assemble in a choreographed progression, with the pace of that assembly slowest in infants born most prematurely.

Gordon wins Passano Foundation Award

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, has won the 2014 Passano Foundation Award for his pioneering studies showing how the trillions of microbes that live in the gut influence human health.

Gut bacteria can cause life-threatening infections in preterm babies

Babies born prematurely are surviving in increasing numbers, but many withstand complications of early birth only to suffer late-onset sepsis — life-threatening bloodstream infections that strike after infants reach 72 hours of age. The causes of late-onset sepsis have not been clear. But now, researchers at the School of Medicine led by Phillip I. Tarr, MD, and Barbara B. Warner, MD, have discovered that preterm babies’ guts harbor infectious microbes that can cause this condition.

Altering mix of gut microbes prevents obesity, but diet remains key factor

The mix of microbes living inside the gut can protect against obesity, but a healthy diet is critical, according to School of Medicine scientists who transplanted intestinal microbes from obese and lean twins into mice and fed the animals different diets. Pictured are researchers Vanessa Ridaura, a graduate student, and Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology.
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