New York: The bacteria that aid in digestion help keep the intestinal lining intact, scientists say, adding that daily probiotics hold the key to ward off inflammatory disorders that occur when the intestinal lining has been compromised.
Intestinal bacteria secrete a wide variety of chemicals known as metabolites.
"These bacteria and their metabolites were known to influence the intestinal epithelium's integrity, but precisely how they did so was not known," said Sridhar Mani, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
The research involved the intestinal microbiome that contains some 100 trillion bacteria.
In lab experiments on mice, scientists found that absorption of a specific bacterial byproduct is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal epithelium - the single-cell layer responsible for keeping intestinal bacteria and their toxins inside the gut and away from the rest of the body.
Breaching of the intact intestinal epithelium is associated with a number of diseases.
"By adding probiotics in the form of IPA-producing bacteria to the intestine or by administering IPA directly, we may be able to prevent or treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and a wide range of other disorders that occur when the intestinal epithelium has been compromised," Mani explained.
Such a strategy could also be tried for other health problems that may occur when the intestinal epithelium breaks down, including certain forms of liver disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, obesity and heart disease.
The findings were reported online in the journal Immunity.