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.
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.
Guided by the immune system, researchers have identified types of gut bacteria in both healthy and undernourished children in Malawi that are linked to nutritional health and that have diagnostic and therapeutic implications for childhood undernutrition.
After fleeing his war-torn homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Justin Serugo was relocated to St. Louis, where he eventually landed a job at the School of Medicine. He now works on a childhood malnutrition project.
Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, has won the 2014 Dickson Prize in Medicine for his pioneering studies demonstrating how the tens of trillions of microbes that live in the gut influence human health.
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.
New research from School of Medicine scientists may help explain why millions of malnourished children suffer from stunted growth and fail to thrive after treatment with nutrient-rich therapeutic foods.
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.
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.
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.