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PNASIn 2000, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine identified that a protein called zonulin was a critical molecule in the development of coeliac disease and other autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis and diabetes. This relationship further links the risk and progression of systemic disease to the health of the gastrointestinal tract.

Zonulin has, as is typical in the  history of immunology been further clarified and renamed as  haptoglobin 2 precursor.

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coverFish sampled from a total of 291 streams across the United States of America between the years of 1998 and 2005 were found to contain levels of mercury higher than those deemed safe for human ingestion. The report published in a non peer reviewed journal – the US Geological Survey in August 2009 says that more than 2 thirds of the fish sampled contained levels of mercury that exceeded the Environment Protection Agency’s level of concern for the protection of fish eating mammals – including humans.

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S1931312809X00090_cov150hToxoplasmosis is generally a mild infection, but it can have serious and potentially fatal effects in pregnant women, their foetuses and others with weakened immune systems.

In mice, T gondii directly activates a specific immune protein in the host, called toll-like receptor 11 (TLR-11), which helps control the animals’ immune response to the parasite. Humans, however, don’t have an active form of this receptor. Exactly how the body senses T gondii has remained unclear because the parasite doesn’t activate any of the functioning toll-like receptors that humans do possess.

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plosCrohn’s diease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Its exact cause is still to be elucidated but a mix of environmental and genetic factors are known to be important. In this study, investigators looked at identical twins microbial composition from their faecal material.

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Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a major lipid of the gastrointestinal mucus  layer. We  recently showed  that mucus from patients suffering  from ulcerative colitis  has low levels of PC. Clinical studies reveal that the therapeutic addition of PC to the  colonic mucus using slow release preparations is beneficial.

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Patients with functional gut disorders, irritable bowel disease, and related syndromes frequently attribute their symptoms to intestinal gas. While patients are usually convinced of their interpretation, the doctor has few arguments to confirm or refute it, and in this context intestinal gas has become a myth. Studies of intestinal gas dynamics have demonstrated subtle dysfunctions

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Close, tightly orchestrated interactions between the intestinal epithelium and the mucosa-associated immune system are critical for normal intestinal absorptive and immunological functions. Recent data indicate that commensal intestinal microbiota represents a major modulator of intestinal homeostasis. This review analyses the process of intestinal colonisation and the interaction of microbiota with the intestinal epithelium and mucosal

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Abstract: Immunological dysregulation is the cause of many non-infectious human diseases such as autoimmunity, allergy and cancer. The gastrointestinal tract is the primary site of interaction between the host immune system and microorganisms, both symbiotic and pathogenic. In this Review the authors discuss findings indicating that developmental aspects of the adaptive immune system are influenced

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