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genome researchComment: Your mouth is home to a thriving community of microbial life. More than 600 different species of bacteria reside in this “microbiome,” yet everyone hosts a unique set of bugs, and this could have important implications for health and disease. The human body harbours ten times more bacterial cells than human cells – a stunning figure that suggests a likely dynamic between ourselves and the bacteria we carry, both in healthy and disease states.

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Comment: It’s common knowledge that a protective navy of bacteria normally floats in our intestinal tracts. Antibiotics at least temporarily disturb the normal balance. But it’s unclear which antibiotics are the most disruptive, and if the full array of “good bacteria” return promptly or remain altered for some time. In studies in mice, University of Michigan scientists have shown for the first time that two different types of antibiotics can cause moderate to wide-ranging changes in the ranks of these helpful guardians in the gut. In the case of one of the antibiotics, the armada of “good bacteria” did not recover its former diversity even many weeks after a course of antibiotics was over.

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The process of maintaining life for the individual is a constant struggle to preserve his/her integrity. This can come at a price when immunity is involved, namely systemic inflammation. Inflammation is not per se a negative phenomenon: it is the response of the immune system to the invasion of viruses or bacteria and other pathogens.

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The trace element zinc is essential for the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects multiple aspects of innate and adaptive immunity. There are remarkable parallels in the immunological changes during aging and zinc deficiency, including a reduction in the activity of the thymus and thymic hormones, a shift of the T helper cell balance toward

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Most clinically useful antibiotics exhibit their selective toxicity by specifically blocking one or another type of bacterial macromolecular synthesis (e.g.protein, nucleic acid or cell wall synthesis) — acting on targets that are not present or accessible in animal/human cells. Since the 1940s, when drugs such as penicillin, streptomycin, and chloramphenicol were introduced widely as “miraculous” agents for treating bacterial infections, the emergence of strains resistant to these and subsequently-developed drugs has represented a continuing clinical challenge. The eventual appearance of strains simultaneously resistant to multiple antibiotics significantly worsened the problem. The latter was found to involve different resistance genes linked to each other on segments of DNA able to move efficiently from one bacterial cell to another by phenomena known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT).

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Four Candida species, C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis and C. parapsilosis, together account for 95% of identifiable Candida infections. Although C. albicans is still the most common causative agent, its incidence is declining and the frequency of other species is increasing. Of these, C. parapsilosis is a particular problem in neonates, transplant recipients and patients receiving parenteral nutrition; C. tropicalis is

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Immune system regulation is of paramount importance to host survival. In settings of autoimmunity and alloimmunity, control is lost, resulting in injury to vital organs and tissues. Naturally occurring, thymic-derived T regulatory (Treg) cells that express CD4, CD25, and the forkhead box protein 3 (FoxP3) are potent suppressors of these adverse immune responses. Preclinical studies

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Adaptive Foxp3+CD4+ regulatory T (iTreg) cells develop outside the thymus under subimmunogenic antigen presentation, during chronic inflammation, and during normal homeostasis of the gut. iTreg cells are essential in mucosal immune tolerance and in the control of severe chronic allergic inflammation, and most likely are one of the main barriers to the eradication of tumors. The Foxp3+ iTreg cell repertoire is drawn from naive conventional CD4+ T cells, whereas natural Treg (nTreg) cells are selected by high-avidity interactions in the thymus.

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Regulatory T cells are important for ensuring that the immune system does not attack self and does not overreact to external antigens. Understanding how these cells develop and maintain stable function provides general insights into cellular differentiation in general, as well as new opportunities for therapeutic manipulation. Herman Waldmann, Stephen Cobbold. Regulatory T Cells: Context

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Gluten-Free Diet Bad for Gut Health

Thursday, 21 May 2009 by | Comments: 2
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Comment: Spanish researchers recently found a gluten-free diet (GFD) led to reductions in beneficial gut bacteria populations and the ability of faecal samples to stimulate the host’s immunity (Br J Nutr. 2009). The effects of a GFD on the composition and immune function of the gut microbiota were analysed in 10 healthy subjects (mean age 30.3 years) over a period of one month.

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