How gut barrier prevents bacteria entry

E.coli bacteria

How the immune system stops bacteria in our gut from leaking into the blood stream that may help in treatment and prevention of life threatening infections? Some British researchers has discovered this process.

If the bacteria escape from the gut and enters into the bloodstream, they can cause infections anywhere in the body that become dangerous if left untreated.

“Gut barrier injury can lead to the often deadly disease known as sepsis, which is one of the biggest killers of critically-ill patients,” Chengcan Yao from the University Of Edinburgh said.

“Our study reveals a new approach that could be exploited as a treatment to help prevent one of the common causes of sepsis,” Yao added.

This study also helps explain why we do not suffer more infections, despite the vast number of bacteria that are found naturally in our gut.Their escape is triggered by an immune system failure that causes a massive inflammatory response. This damages healthy tissues and can lead to multiple organ failure.

They found a small molecule called “PGE2” plays a crucial role by activating specialised immune cells called innate lymphoid cells. These cells help to maintain the barrier between the gut and the rest of the body.

If “PGE2” is blocked or doesn’t function correctly, these cells are not activated and the gut barrier breaks down allowing bacteria to escape.

The findings will pass through new developments for preventing whole-body infections which can be life threatening if they are not caught early.

“Sepsis is often difficult to diagnose and treat, therefore, better understanding of the immune mechanisms involved will help us to devise strategies to improve patient prognosis,” study co-author Rodger Duffin added.