Crohn’s: Could an antifungal vaccine relieve symptoms?

A potential antifungal could be used to correct the microbial imbalance that is associated with IBD. SubstanceP/Getty Images

  • Most people are healthy and safe from the fungi in their gut. However, they can cause Crohn’s disease.
  • A new study found that the immune system does not target an invasive form Candida albicans.This gives the innocuous form a competitive edge.
  • This immune interaction fosters a stronger, more beneficial relationship between the host and the fungus.
  • C. albicansCould be used to help reduce the symptoms of IBD (irritable bowel disorder)

A remarkable diversity of bacteria, viruses and fungi lives in the human gut.

These microorganisms often co-exist harmoniously with humans in complexTrustedSource, which can lead to mutually beneficial relationships.

However, health conditions such as inflammation of the gut can disrupt these alliances. researchTrusted source indicates that IBD can be exacerbated by certain fungal species, even though they are generally harmless to healthy people.

Crohn’s disease is the most common type of IBD. Ulcerative colitis is another. These chronic conditions are characterized by intermittent symptoms such as diarrhea or abdominal pain.

IBD sufferers are known to have higher levels of Candida in their guts, especially the species C. albicans Trusted source.

A new study has revealed how an immune system with healthy gut can maintain a harmonious relationship to potentially harmful fungi such as C. albicans.

Researchers discovered that antibodies target structures called HyphaeTrusted Source. These are long, fine filaments that fungi use in order to invade host tissues.

Antibodies directed at hyphae in mice suppressed an invasive, pathogenic form of the organism, encouraging the growth of a benign, round form.

Kyla Ost, Ph.D. is the postdoctoral researcher who conducted the research.

She explains that this is a sign that communication between microbes and hosts can be friendly rather than antagonistic in order to benefit all.

People with IBD may benefit from a vaccine that stimulates their immune system to produce more antibodies.

NatureTrusted Source published the research.

Adhesive protein

Researchers looked for antibodies in stool samples taken from healthy people and IBD patients to determine if there were any antibodies.

The antibody response to C. albicans was especially strong in both participants with and without IBD.

The team tested mice and found that some of the antibodies targeted proteins called adhesinsTrusted source which allow fungal hyphae stick to the mucosal wall to invade the gut.

Further tests showed that antibodies produced the benign, rounded form of C. albicans have a competitive advantage over the invading from.

Scientists found that C.hyphal was the most effective form in a mouse model of IBD. The albicans caused damage to the intestinal intestine, while the rounded form reduced inflammation.

These results indicate that IBD is prevented by normal immune responses to the gut. albicans which gives the benign form an advantage.

The scientists also showed that an existing vaccine which stimulates an immune response against the adhesins from fungal hyphae could reduce the damage to the gut in a model for IBD.

The vaccineTrusted Source has been subject to a clinical trial to prevent vaginal yeast infections. It protected mice’s guts from the invasive C. albicans.

Dr. Ost stated Medical News Today that “our ultimate goal is to evaluate this vaccination strategy to treat or prevent IBD.”

She added that “but, we still have to work to better understand the vaccine’s effects in animal models before moving forward with clinical trials.”

A mutually-beneficial relationship

Dr. Ost emphasized that the relationship between C. Dr. Ost emphasized that the relationship between C.

We found that most of the benefits come from clearing the invasive form. Recent studies have shown that these fungi can help the body fight infection by encouraging protective immune responses,” she stated.

Gerard Honig Ph.D. is the director of innovation and research at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He welcomed the results:

Dr. Honig stated that there are many lines of evidence that suggest that fungi play a significant role in IBD, especially Crohn’s.

He mentioned that blood tests for anti-microbe antibodies, including fungi have been used for many years to diagnose Crohn’s disease and determine the prognosis of patients.

He said, “However the functional significance antifungal immune reactions in IBD has not been clarified, and this question will be elegantly addressed in this work.”

Dr. Honig stressed that further research would be required to confirm and expand the findings before moving forward with clinical trials for potential new treatments.

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