Writing in Science, September 1, the pathologists reported their research on non-virulent salmonella. The scientists found that the bacteria blocked an important immune pathway called NF-KB—a transcription factor involved in activating genes in the immune system.
According to the researchers, shortages of these bacteria may lie behind some inflammatory diseases.
Researcher Dr Andrew Neish said: "We have found a mechanism by which non-pathogenic bacteria block the inflammatory pathway and prevent cells in the gastrointestinal tract from responding as any other cell would respond. This mechanism for tolerance also could be fundamental to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and to other infectious intestinal diseases."
The researchers said their findings seemed to provide a basis for probiotics in which patients consume benign bacteria, such as the lacto-bacillus found in yoghurt, to improve intestinal health.
"Non-pathogenic bacteria can block the inflammatory pathway."
"It's interesting that the organisms we are studying are non-pathogenic and have no ability to elicit inflammation themselves, yet they are able to block inflammatory pathways and create tolerance for themselves and perhaps other organisms," said Dr Neish.
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