SEP 30, 2015 6:30 PM PDT

Gut Microbes Help You Breathe Easy

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
Gut microbes are in the news yet again.  This time, researchers at the University of British Columbia, led by Brett Finlay, published evidence that gut microbes play an important role in asthma.  The team found that asthma was associated with lower levels of four gut bacteria: Lachnospira, Veillonella, Faecalibacterium, and Rothia.  
 
Four types of gut bacteria are linked with asthma

Lachnospira are Gram positive anaerobic bacteria in the class Clostridia, making them related to better known species such as Clostridium difficile and Clostridium botulinum.  Veillonella are also Gram positive anaerobes, but their cell wall composition actually makes them appear Gram negative.  For this reason, they are classified in the class Negativicutes.  Faecalibacterium, also class Clostridia, are actually some of the most common bacteria found in the gut.  Low levels of this bacteria have been associated with Crohn’s disease.  Finally, Rothia, yet another Gram positive bacteria, occupies the mouth and respiratory tract, and is commonly associated with periodontal disease.

Now, back to the study.  Finlay and his team followed 319 children over five years.  Stool samples were taken at three months and one year, and their general health was followed up to age five.  They found that infants with a high risk for asthma also had lower levels of the four types of bacteria in stool samples. What is most surprising is that by age one, the “at risk” infants’ microbes looked the same as normal infants.  “In that first 100 days, the structure of the gut microbiome seems to be important in influencing the immune responses that cause or protect us from asthma”, says co-author Stuart Turvey.

These new findings prove just how important our gut microbes are, particularly in the first few months of life.  According to Turvey, “we need to revisit our relationship with bacteria … this study and other like it emphasize that we have evolved with bacteria and they are really important for our health”.  
 

Sources: Discover Magazine, BBC News, Wikipedia
 
About the Author
Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
FEB 21, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV Patient
FEB 21, 2022
A Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV Patient
Two people have been cured of HIV, and now, a US woman joins them. In this third case, stem cell transplants were being ...
MAR 14, 2022
Immunology
Many Variants of the Virus Can Hide Away in COVID-19 Patients
MAR 14, 2022
Many Variants of the Virus Can Hide Away in COVID-19 Patients
Though it may happen at different rates for different microbes, mutations happen, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes ...
MAR 23, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
A New Type of Cell Death is Discovered
MAR 23, 2022
A New Type of Cell Death is Discovered
Organisms from plants to fungi to animals also need copper for normal health. Copper is involved in several basic biolog ...
APR 13, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Human or Host? Parasites in Human History & Prehistory
APR 13, 2022
Human or Host? Parasites in Human History & Prehistory
We've all seen the latest historical interpretations on television, the movies, or even the stage. And while talented co ...
MAY 12, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
How Diet & Gut Microbes Can Combine to Cause Depression
MAY 12, 2022
How Diet & Gut Microbes Can Combine to Cause Depression
Proline is an amino acid that is required for a variety of essential functions. Researchers have now found that proline ...
MAY 20, 2022
Microbiology
Why Staph Infections are Only Severe for Some
MAY 20, 2022
Why Staph Infections are Only Severe for Some
Bacteria live all around us, even in us. Though some bacterial pathogens can cause dangerous infections, many of those m ...
Loading Comments...