Diets High in Salt May Increase Sensitivity to Autoimmune Disease through Microbiome Alteration

High salt diets have previously been shown to increase severity of certain types of induced autoimmune disease in mouse models via a signaling pathway, but the impact of these diets on the gut microbiome and intestinal inflammation have not been studied. Researchers at McMaster University recently investigated this question in a paper titled “High salt […]


New Resource for Gnotobiotics Research

Growth in Gnotobiotics Research in gnotobiotic rodents and other animal models is a growing field. The rise in microbiome studies is likely responsible for this increase. This gnotobiotic renaissance has fueled exponential growth in the number of institutions operating or making plans for gnotobiotic facilities and a demand for more education. Read more at: Taconic […]


Interagency Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research

About this Document This plan was developed by the Microbiome Interagency Working Group (MIWG), an interagency working group under the Life Sciences Subcommittee (LSSC) of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Science (CoS). The MIWG is a successor to the Fast Track Action Committee on Mapping the Microbiome (FTAC-MM). About the Fast […]


Commensal Microbes May Initiate and Drive Immune Responses in Lupus

Spontaneous lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with an unclear cause. Nearly all lupus patients have high levels of anti-nuclear antibodies with a relatively high proportion being pathogenic anti-Ro protein antibodies. At the end of March, researchers at Yale University published a paper entitled “Commensal orthologs of the human autoantigen Ro60 as triggers […]


Nutrition Track Agenda Announced for 4th Annual Translational Microbiome Conference

MINNEAPOLIS, March 29, 2018– Arrowhead Publishers released a parallel nutrition track agenda for the 4th Annual Translational Microbiome Conference, scheduled April 18-20 in Boston. The conference is designed to bring together scientists at the forefront of microbiome research with pioneering business leaders at companies generating microbiome-based medical solutions. Sponsored by Nestlé Health Science, the nutrition […]


Squeaky clean mice could be ruining research

Most lab mice are kept in pristine conditions, but a few immunologists think a dose of dirt could make them a better model of human disease. On an unseasonably warm February morning, Mark Pierson takes a 20-minute drive to one of Minneapolis’s larger pet shops. Pierson, a researcher in an immunology laboratory at the University […]


Gender-Dependent Impacts of Round-Up Herbicide on Microbiome

It is heavily debated whether the use of the weedkiller glyphosate in agriculture and gardening can induce dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, negatively affecting human and animal health. Dysbiosis is an imbalance in the microbiome composition associated with conditions such as colitis, metabolic syndrome, allergies, and more. Herbicide and the Microbiome We recently highlighted new […]


Which experimental systems should we use for human microbiome science?

ABSTRACT Microbiome science is revealing that the phenotype and health of animals, including humans, depend on the sustained function of their resident microorganisms. In this essay, I argue for thoughtful choice of model systems for human microbiome science. A greater variety of experimental systems, including wider use of invertebrate models, would benefit biomedical research, while […]


Microbiome Cycles Revealed by Low-Cost Gnotobiotic Cages

While developing a low-cost alternative to traditional gnotobiotic isolators, a team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) were able to characterize cyclical changes in the microbiomes of gnotobiotic mice. Their research has implications for both the design and affordability of gnotobiotic animal model research. High Cost of Gnotobiotic Isolators Isolators are the gold […]


The conundrum with animal models of the human microbiome

‘The most that can be expected from any model is that it can supply a useful approximation to reality: All models are wrong; some models are useful.’ This aphorism, simply articulated here by prominent British statistician George Box, gets to the crux of the dilemma we face when considering animal models for the study of […]


The Macro Influence of the Microbiome

I am pleased to draw your attention to this, the first ever topical issue of Brief Reviews in The Journal of Immunology. Through seven Brief Reviews, this issue of The JI highlights the pervasive impact of the gut microbiome on immune functions, both in the gut and at distal sites, and features a cover chosen […]


High-Fiber Diet Shifts Gut Microbes, Lowering Blood Sugar in Diabetics

A diet high in fiber can reshape the gut microbiome, helping people with type 2 diabetes stay healthy. A study published yesterday (March 8) in Science found that when patients with the condition ate a high-fiber diet, they had an abundance of microbial species that helped to reduce blood sugar and regulate weight compared with […]


Mice with Horse Microbiota Validate Health Promoting Diet for Foals

Animal feed retailer Brogaarden recently launched a new prebiotic diet for foals that can reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome and colitis later in life. The diet works by promoting beneficial gut bacteria, such as Akkermansia muciniphila, in turn inducing regulatory immunity in the foals. The diet’s effects were scientifically […]


The (still somewhat mysterious) science behind the microbiome

Fans of the ’90s cartoon “The Magic School Bus” may remember one of the show’s earlier episodes, where Ms. Frizzle and her class shrink down to take a journey through a sick student’s body. Along the way, they cross paths with the very bacteria responsible for the illness. The bacteria is actually part of the […]


The Germ and the Gene: Gut Bacteria Research Takes a Step Forward

The gut microbiota, the ecosystem of bacteria that lives inside the human gastrointestinal tract, has been recently shown to release chemical signals that can make alterations to our genes. Research conducted at the Babraham Institute near Cambridge demonstrated that certain bacteria among the microbiota release molecules called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These acids were able […]


The Gut Microbiome and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Understanding the Connection

Research to date has established that the gut microbiome profoundly influences the host immune system1; furthermore, dysbiosis — an altered composition of the gut microbiome — has been observed in a range of disease states.2 This is not surprising, considering that approximately 90% of the cells associated with each human originate from commensal organisms, while […]


Researchers Target Specific Gut Bacteria to Control Inflammation in Mice Study of Colitis

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a way to target a specific population of bacteria that promotes gut inflammation in mice. While more studies are needed, they believe the discovery could lead to a new target for therapy development. Scientists refer to the strategy as the “precision editing” of the gut microbiome, which […]


NIH scientists find microbes on the skin of mice promote tissue healing, immunity

Insights may inform wound management techniques. Beneficial bacteria (link is external) on the skin of lab mice work with the animals’ immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research from scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers […]


Gut Microbiome Assemblage Impacts Response to Cancer Immunotherapy

University of Chicago Medicine researchers report that specific microbiome assemblages can boost the response rate to immunotherapy for patients being treated for advanced melanoma. Their study (”The Commensal Microbiome Is Associated with Anti–PD-1 Efficacy in Metastatic Melanoma Patients”) is published in Science. “Anti–PD-1–based immunotherapy has had a major impact on cancer treatment but has only […]


Q&A: Friends (but sometimes foes) within: the complex evolutionary ecology of symbioses between host and microbes

ABSTRACT Over the past decade, there has been a pronounced shift in the study of host–microbe associations, with recognition that many of these associations are beneficial, and often critical, for a diverse array of hosts. There may also be pronounced benefits for the microbes, though this is less well empirically understood. Significant progress has been […]






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