Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nlrp3 protein and Crohn's disease

Saw an article about the Nlrp3 protein and it's relationship to Crohn's and Colitis. Here's the full press release. Here's an excerpt:
Researchers demonstrated that in a mouse model of colitis, Nlrp3 plays a pivotal role in keeping the intestinal tract intact, thus preventing further damage that occurs if intestinal bacteria leak into the body.

Nlrp3 works by anchoring a large, multi-protein complex known as the Nlrp3 inflammasome where the messenger protein interleukin 18 (IL-18) is made.

IL-18 belongs to a family of molecules known as cytokines, which shape the body's immune response. In this study, researchers showed IL-18 produced by the Nlrp3 inflammasome helped mice maintain healthy colon by triggering production of more epithelial cells to compensate for those damaged or destroyed by colitis.

"This paper provides the basis for more effective, potentially disease-modifying approaches to treatment," Kanneganti said.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Helminthic Therapy Spot on CBS 5 News

This is a pretty old spot from CBS 5 in San Francisco, but thought it was interesting. For more info on this topic, see my old post - "I'll Take a Parasite Please: Helminthic Therapy and the Hygiene Hypothesis".

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gene Sequencing Yields Picture of Human Gut

Read this article in Business Week about how researchers have identified 160 different species of bacteria in the gut. One interesting finding - people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have 25% fewer bacterial genes than healthy people, indicating that those with IBD have less diversity in their gut.

An excerpt:
"This is so rich. It could help in so many different ways. It could help us understand diseases like inflammatory bowel disease [IBD], Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. It could help us with problems like malnutrition and obesity. It could help us understand many different metabolic problems from liver disease to kidney to heart disease," said Dr. Martin Blaser, chairman of the department of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center and a professor of microbiology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. "This is really a landmark study."