Home / Science / Viruses that infect bacteria could be used to fight pathogens, promote health — ScienceDaily

Viruses that infect bacteria could be used to fight pathogens, promote health — ScienceDaily

Viruses that infect bacteria could be used to fight pathogens, promote health — ScienceDaily

New analysis spearheaded by McGill University has found that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) discovered within the intestinal tracts of kids could play a job in childhood stunting, a major obstacle to progress that impacts 22% of kids underneath the age of 5 around the globe.

The examine, revealed at present in Cell Host & Microbe, additionally suggests that as a result of they have an effect on the abundance and variety of bacterial communities within the gastrointestinal tract, these viruses could additionally be used to enhance health. The researchers imagine this work presents hope of creating new price environment friendly therapies for populations the place dietary interventions, which have been proven to work, are tough to implement and maintain in susceptible human populations.

Phages, bacteria and stunting

Earlier research had steered that the intestine microbiome may play a job in stunting by displaying that stunted kids have elevated numbers of disease-causing bacteria — related to impaired digestive and absorption capabilities — dwelling of their gastrointestinal tracts.

But whereas a lot analysis has targeted on the bacteria current in our intestine and the affect they’ll have on human health, little consideration has so far been paid to different quite common residents of our gastrointestinal tract — bacteriophages.

“Phages or bacteriophages, which are bacterial viruses, are naturally found in every environment where bacteria are found, and the human gut is no exception,” says Corinne Maurice, an assistant professor in McGill’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and senior creator of the brand new examine. “Because phages are as abundant as their hosts, they might be involved in regulating them in many ways by killing specific bacteria, transferring virulence or antibiotic resistance genes to them, for example, but we currently don’t have a clear understanding of what they do and how they do it. This is a fairly new and exciting field of research.”

Distinct viruses in wholesome and stunted kids

To perceive how these viruses may play a job in stunting, Maurice’s workforce, in collaboration with the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh, collected fecal samples from 30 non-stunted and 30 unrelated stunted Bangladeshi kids aged between 14 and 38 months.

Using a mix of microscopy, ribosomal gene sequencing, and metagenomics, they had been ready to decide that the phages discovered within the intestine of non-stunted and stunted kids are distinct. Furthermore, when intestine bacteria from non-stunted kids had been uncovered to phages from the heart of stunted kids in vitro, they discovered that “bad” bacteria, suspected of being concerned in stunting, proliferated.

“By showing that phages can change the bacterial community in children between 6 and 23 months, our work shows the potential of phages for reestablishing the gut bacterial community in stunting,” says Mohammadali Khan Mirzaei, a former postdoctoral scholar within the Maurice lab and first creator of the brand new examine.

“Stunting has lifelong consequences (health/socioeconomic) and can be transferred from mother to child,” says Maurice, who can be Canada Research Chair in Gut Microbial Physiology and a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar. “If phages can change bacterial communities in a specific way and long-term during child development, this could be a cheap treatment with no risk of antibiotic resistance.”

Though the findings now want to be validated utilizing a bigger pattern and in animal fashions, Maurice says that by understanding interactions between bacteria and viruses within the human intestine, we’d be ready to someday manipulate them to enhance human health.

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Materials supplied by McGill University. Note: Content could be edited for fashion and size.

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