JAN 20, 2016 01:49 PM PST

When It Seems Like You're the Only One Who Gets Sick

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
The whole family ate the same seafood last night, yet only two out of the six got sick. What gives?
 
In a new study from Duke Health, scientists have identified 29 innate immunity-related genes that can predict which members of a group are less and more likely than others to become infected with a circulating pathogen.
 
Out of 30 healthy participants who were exposed to Escherichia coli, a common cause of food poisoning and traveler’s diarrhea, six experienced extreme symptoms and six appeared to be unaffected. Senior author of the study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Ephraim Taslik, MD, PhD, and his team closely analyzed the genetic differences between these two groups.
 
 

Tsalik and his team used blood samples to look for key changes in gene expression, and the 29 immune-related genes they found to be involved seemed to be predictive of how each host would respond to an E. coli infection.
 
"Within each group, there were changes in the patients' gene expression patterns happening throughout the experiment," Tsalik said.
 
The six participants whose gene expression boosted their immune system during the experiment are not decidedly protected against all future infections, but the Duke scientists have clearly identified the genes that increased the participants’ chances of staying healthy. The impact of environmental influences, stress, and diversity of the microbiome also plays a big role in decreasing or increasing someone’s risk for developing an infection.
 
Going forward, Tsalik plans to see how the same genes boost the immune response to microorganisms other than E. coli, like viruses and other types of bacteria. He said he will be looking for new ways to boost the immune system, depending on how gene expression changes in different cases of infection.
 
Genes of the innate immune system


Source: Duke Health
 
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2019
Microbiology
NOV 13, 2019
How a Parasitic Amoeba Evades the Immune System
A parasitic amoeba that causes a gut disease can nibble on host cells and use their proteins. (Image courtesy UC Davis/Hannah Miller)...
NOV 13, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 13, 2019
Novel Treatments for Auto-immune Disorders
A recent research study examined a library of almost 300,000 small molecules to search for a molecule that may be a potential target for the human GMP-AMP ...
NOV 13, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 13, 2019
Learning More About the Causes of Endometriosis Pain
Endometriosis can be an extremely painful disorder that significantly impacts quality of life....
NOV 13, 2019
Immunology
NOV 13, 2019
Diseases We Share with Our Canine Companions: Autoimmune Encephalitis in Dogs
Like humans, dogs can develop autoimmune encephalitis, and it’s common - mostly affecting smaller breeds and young adult dogs. Now scientists underst...
NOV 13, 2019
Microbiology
NOV 13, 2019
Molecule in Human Breast Milk Can Fight Microbial Pathogens
Now a team of scientists has found a molecule in human breast milk that may reduce the risk of illness and disease....
NOV 13, 2019
Immunology
NOV 13, 2019
Allergy Shots May Work for Kids with Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome
It’s not common for young children to develop pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), but for those that do, there’s not too much parents can do o...
Loading Comments...