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Researchers Identify Possible Bacterial Drivers Of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

Researchers have identified a handful of bacterial culprits that lead to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, according to a new study. These bacterial culprits use patients' own intestinal immune response as a guide. 

Human intestinal microbiota equips trillions of bacteria within, that plays a critical role in the development and progression of IBD. However, only a small number of bacterial species affect a person's susceptibility to IBD and its potential severity. 

"A handful of bad bacteria are able to attain access to the immune system and get right at the gut," said Richard Flavell, the Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, in the press release. "If you look at the bacteria to which we have made an immune response, you can begin to find these bad actors."

Researchers focused on antibody coatings on the surface of bacteria. Particularly, they looked at bacteria with high concentrations of an antibody coating called Immunoglobulin A (IgA). 

"The coating is our body's attempt to neutralize the bacteria," Flavell said. "It binds to the bad bacteria. We only make these IgA responses to a limited number of organisms."

According to researchers, the findings of the study indicate that anti-bacterial therapies for IBD are possible. "We believe an anti-bacterial strategy has a place in treating IBD," Flavell said.

Findings of the study is published in the journal Cell.

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