Two Pieces of Research on Specific Bacteria Associated with Disease: Heart Attacks and IBD

Two interesting bits of research for you this week, to make up for missing a post last week.  Sorry – just too busy these days to get to write regularly.  Both are about research that has isolated specific bacterial microbiome differences in those with different disease (heart attacks and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and those without.  The findings are so specific, in fact, that there is hope that treatment for these illnesses, via manipulation of the gut microbiota, is not very far in the future.

The first paper is out of Rabin Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. (How many times have I reported on research out of the latter over the years?!) The scientists looked at the gut bacteria of 199 patients who had just had a heart attack. They had a substantial enough number of samples to allow them to spot a trend that had never been seen before. A type of bacteria from the Clostridiaceae family was completely missing from those who’d had heart attacks, but was present in the healthy control group: “ACS patients had distinct serum metabolome and gut microbial signatures as compared with control individuals and were depleted in a previously unknown bacterial species of the Clostridiaceae family.”[i]

Correlation does not, of course, prove causation.  So these scientists are conducting further research to try to figure out what the relationship is between this species of Clostridiaceae and heart disease. Their working hypothesis is that it prevents arteriosclerosis (often called hardening of the arteries). They are also attempting to figure out whether or not they can use the presence, or lack, of these bacteria as a screening tool.

Knowing now that when it is absent that the heart is at risk, the researchers are attempting to isolate the bacteria from healthy donors and package it into pills, which – they hope – will prevent heart attacks in those prone.  A clinical trial is expected to start in about a year![ii]   Cool, right?

Today’s second paper is out of Harvard Medical School.  These scientists have been researching the relationship between bile acids, the bacteria that produce those bile acids, and gut inflammation.[iii] Looking at both humans and mice, they discovered three critical bacterial species  (and bacterial genes) that regulate bile acid modification:  “The studies identify three bile acid metabolites and corresponding bacterial genes that produce molecules that affect the activity of inflammation-regulating immune cells.” [iv]

What’s exciting is that they found that people with inflammatory bowel diseases have markedly lower levels of both these microbes and these bacterial genes that are responsible for the production of the critical bile acids. Says one of the researchers, “All three molecules and the bacterial genes that we discovered that produce these molecules are reduced in patients with IBD…Restoring the presence of either the compounds or the bacteria that make them offers a possible therapeutic avenue to treat a range of inflammatory diseases marked by these deficiencies and affecting millions of people worldwide.”

So more specific probiotics to treat diseases in the future?

 

[i] Talmor-Barkan, Y., Bar, N., Shaul, A.A. et al. Metabolomic and microbiome profiling reveals personalized risk factors for coronary artery disease. Nat Med 28, 295–302 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01686-6

[ii] https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-study-mines-donor-poop-for-bacteria-that-could-avert-heart-attacks/

[iii] Paik, D., Yao, L., Zhang, Y. et al. Human gut bacteria produce ΤΗ17-modulating bile acid metabolites. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04480-z

[iv] https://hms.harvard.edu/news/countering-gut-inflammation

Two interesting bits of research for you this week, to make up for missing a post last week.  Sorry – just too busy these days to get to write regularly.  Both are about research that has isolated specific bacterial microbiome differences in those with disease (heart attacks and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and those without:  so specific, in fact, that there is hope that treatment for these illnesses, via manipulation of the gut microbiota is not very far in the future.

 

The first paper is out of Rabin Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (how many times have I reported on research out of the latter over the years?!) kind of blew my mind.  The scientists looked at the gut bacteria of 199 patients who had just had a heart attack.  The fact that they had a substantial enough number of samples led them to spotting a trend that had never been seen before. A type of bacteria from the Clostridiaceae family, was completely missing from those who’d had heart attacks, but was present in the healthy control group: “ACS patients had distinct serum metabolome and gut microbial signatures as compared with control individuals and were depleted in a previously unknown bacterial species of the Clostridiaceae family.”[i]

 

Correlation does not, of course, prove causation.  So these scientists are conducting further research to try to figure out what the relationship is between this species of Clostridiaceae and heart disease.  Their working hypothesis is that it prevents arteriosclerosis (often called hardening of the arteries).   They are also attempting to figure out whether or not they can use the presence, or lack, of these bacteria as a screening tool.

 

Knowing now that when it is absent, the heart is at risk, the researchers are attempting to isolate the bacteria from healthy donors and package it into pills, which – they hope – will prevent heart attacks in those prone.  A clinical trial is expected to start in about a year![ii]

 

Today’s second paper is out of Harvard Medical School.  These scientists have been researching the relationship between bile acids, the bacteria that produce those bile acids, and gut inflammation.[iii] Looking at both humans and mice, they discovered three critical bacterial species  (and bacterial genes) that regulate bile acid modification:  “The studies identify three bile acid metabolites and corresponding bacterial genes that produce molecules that affect the activity of inflammation-regulating immune cells.” [iv]

 

What’s exciting is that they found that people with inflammatory bowel diseases have markedly lower levels of both these microbes and these bacterial genes that are responsible for the production of the critical bile acids. Says one of the researchers, “All three molecules and the bacterial genes that we discovered that produce these molecules are reduced in patients with IBD…Restoring the presence of either the compounds or the bacteria that make them offers a possible therapeutic avenue to treat a range of inflammatory diseases marked by these deficiencies and affecting millions of people worldwide.”

 

Two interesting bits of research for you this week, to make up for missing a post last week.  Sorry – just too busy these days to get to write regularly.  Both are about research that has isolated specific bacterial microbiome differences in those with disease (heart attacks and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and those without:  so specific, in fact, that there is hope that treatment for these illnesses, via manipulation of the gut microbiota is not very far in the future.

 

The first paper is out of Rabin Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (how many times have I reported on research out of the latter over the years?!) kind of blew my mind.  The scientists looked at the gut bacteria of 199 patients who had just had a heart attack.  The fact that they had a substantial enough number of samples led them to spotting a trend that had never been seen before. A type of bacteria from the Clostridiaceae family, was completely missing from those who’d had heart attacks, but was present in the healthy control group: “ACS patients had distinct serum metabolome and gut microbial signatures as compared with control individuals and were depleted in a previously unknown bacterial species of the Clostridiaceae family.”[i]

 

Correlation does not, of course, prove causation.  So these scientists are conducting further research to try to figure out what the relationship is between this species of Clostridiaceae and heart disease.  Their working hypothesis is that it prevents arteriosclerosis (often called hardening of the arteries).   They are also attempting to figure out whether or not they can use the presence, or lack, of these bacteria as a screening tool.

 

Knowing now that when it is absent, the heart is at risk, the researchers are attempting to isolate the bacteria from healthy donors and package it into pills, which – they hope – will prevent heart attacks in those prone.  A clinical trial is expected to start in about a year![ii]

 

Today’s second paper is out of Harvard Medical School.  These scientists have been researching the relationship between bile acids, the bacteria that produce those bile acids, and gut inflammation.[iii] Looking at both humans and mice, they discovered three critical bacterial species  (and bacterial genes) that regulate bile acid modification:  “The studies identify three bile acid metabolites and corresponding bacterial genes that produce molecules that affect the activity of inflammation-regulating immune cells.” [iv]

 

What’s exciting is that they found that people with inflammatory bowel diseases have markedly lower levels of both these microbes and these bacterial genes that are responsible for the production of the critical bile acids. Says one of the researchers, “All three molecules and the bacterial genes that we discovered that produce these molecules are reduced in patients with IBD…Restoring the presence of either the compounds or the bacteria that make them offers a possible therapeutic avenue to treat a range of inflammatory diseases marked by these deficiencies and affecting millions of people worldwide.”

 

[i] Talmor-Barkan, Y., Bar, N., Shaul, A.A. et al. Metabolomic and microbiome profiling reveals personalized risk factors for coronary artery disease. Nat Med 28, 295–302 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01686-6

[ii] https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-study-mines-donor-poop-for-bacteria-that-could-avert-heart-attacks/

[iii] Paik, D., Yao, L., Zhang, Y. et al. Human gut bacteria produce ΤΗ17-modulating bile acid metabolites. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04480-z

[iv] https://hms.harvard.edu/news/countering-gut-inflammation

 

[i] Talmor-Barkan, Y., Bar, N., Shaul, A.A. et al. Metabolomic and microbiome profiling reveals personalized risk factors for coronary artery disease. Nat Med 28, 295–302 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01686-6

[ii] https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-study-mines-donor-poop-for-bacteria-that-could-avert-heart-attacks/

[iii] Paik, D., Yao, L., Zhang, Y. et al. Human gut bacteria produce ΤΗ17-modulating bile acid metabolites. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04480-z

[iv] https://hms.harvard.edu/news/countering-gut-inflammation

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: