Interesting news this week includes the examination of microbiota in autistic children, identifying bacteria in arterial plaques and the use of a Bifidobacterium to prevent allergy against birch pollen.
Autism and Microbiota
Digestive disorders are linked to autism. In a recent article published by Molecular Autism, a little bit of this puzzle is solved. It turns out that the intestinal microbiota of children with autism spectrum disorder is different than that of unaffected children. The main findings are that Sutterella species of bacteria are increased in affected children along with the bacteria species Ruminococcus torques. The latter bacterium is associated with gastrointestinal issues. These changes could be behind the associated intestinal problems in autistic children.
Bacteria in Blocked Arteries
The development of arterial blockages (atherosclerotic disease) is linked with gum disease (periodontitis). Earlier studies, using older methods for detecting bacteria, have shown that bacteria can be found within arterial plaques. Researchers from Brazil decided to investigate, with newer techniques, to see if there was a correlation between the severity of gum disease and bacteria in the plaques. While there appeared to be no correlation between them, they did find that 34.3% of gum disease patient plaques contained bacteria. The majority were Proteobacteria and Firmicutes bacteria. Twenty percent of the samples also had the gum disease pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.
Bifidobacteria for Preventing Birch Allergy
In a mouse study performed by researchers from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, it was found that exclusive colonization with Bifidobacterium longum ssp. longum CCM 7952 could lower allergic responses to birch pollen. The mice were colonized with the single strain at birth, and were later exposed to birch pollen. They found that these “mono-colonized” mice had lower amounts of allergen-specific antibodies along were positive changes in immunological parameters as compared to mice without any intestinal bacteria. It appeared that the B. longum strain effectively induced regulatory responses.
- Wang L, Christophersen CT, Sorich MJ, et al. Increased abundance of Sutterella spp. and Ruminococcus torques in feces of children with autism spectrum disorder. Mol Autism 2013;4:42.
- Schwarzer M, Srutkova D, Schabussova I, et al. Neonatal colonization of germ-free mice with Bifidobacterium longum prevents allergic sensitization to major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1. Vaccine 2013;31:5405-12.
- Calandrini CA, Ribeiro AC, Gonnelli AC, et al. Microbial composition of atherosclerotic plaques. Oral Dis 2013 [Epub ahead of print].