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Bacteria With Bad Rap Proves Protective

January 11, 2013 by  

Bacteria With Bad Rap Proves Protective
SPECIAL

If you’ve visited a doctor’s office with stomach complaints in recent years, it’s likely you were tested for H. pylori, an ancient bacterium that has survived for decades in the mucous layer of the stomach lining. Because of better sanitation and widespread use of antibiotics, H. pylori is not as prevalent in developed countries; and it actually may have some positive benefits for its human hosts.

Previous studies confirmed the bacterium’s link to gastric diseases ranging from gastritis to stomach cancer. However, recent research performed at NYU School of Medicine by Ye Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of population health and environmental medicine, and Martin J. Blaser, M.D., professor of internal medicine and professor of microbiology, has shown that H. pylori may be protective against childhood asthma. It’s more virulent strain (cagA) may even guard against death from lung cancer.

“We found that H. pylori is not related to the risk of death from all causes, despite it being related to increased risk of death from gastric cancer,” Chen said.

“This finding confirms earlier work, however, that gastric cancers are now uncommon in the United States. We also found that H. pylori was related to a reduced risk of stroke and lung cancer, and these effects were stronger for the cagA strain, suggesting its mixed role in human health.”

In the study, participants who were cagA-positive had a 55 percent reduction in death risk from stroke. This group also had a 45 percent reduced risk of death from lung cancer.

“The most interesting finding was that there is a strong inverse association with stroke which could be protective,” Blaser said. “There is some precedent for this and it is possible that the same cells (T reg cells) that H. pylori induces that protect against childhood asthma could be the protective agents, however, the findings need to be confirmed.”

Kellye Copas

Staff writer Kellye Copas has several years experience writing for the alternative health industry. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, copywriting and direct mail and web marketing.

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  • FreedomFighter

    Interesting stuff those T reg cells: maybe we will see a breakthrue with treating cancers.

    Regulators of the Immune System

    Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical to the maintenance of immune cell homeostasis as evidenced by the catastrophic consequences of genetic or physical ablation of the Treg population. Specifically, Treg cells maintain order in the immune system by enforcing a dominant negative regulation on other immune cells. Broadly classified into natural or adaptive (induced) Tregs; natural Tregs are CD4+CD25+ T-cells which develop, and emigrate from the thymus to perform their key role in immune homeostasis. Adaptive Tregs are non-regulatory CD4+ T-cells which acquire CD25 (IL-2R alpha) expression outside of the thymus, and are typically induced by inflammation and disease processes, such as autoimmunity and cancer.

    Precise understanding of the immunosuppressive mechanism of T regulatory cells remains elusive, although there is increasing evidence that Tregs manifest their function through a myriad of mechanisms that include the secretion of immunosuppressive soluble factors such as IL-9, IL-10 and TGF beta, cell contact mediated regulation via the high affinity TCR and other costimulatory molecules such as CTLA-4, GITR, and cytolytic activity. Understanding the mechanisms by which Treg cells exert their influence is an area of intense research with broad implications for the development of therapeutic strategies for many disease processes including cancer, diabetes, and Immune mediated diseases.

    T Regulatory Cells
    http://www.ebioscience.com/knowledge-center/cell-type/t-regulatory-cells.htm

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

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