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Roving Bacteria

March 13, 2018

Gut bacteria can escape into other tissues and cause serious illnesses.



Roving gut bacteria. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Bacteria living in our gut are important to good health, but some of them can trigger auto-immune disorders. That’s when our immune system attacks our own cells. In the journal Science, Yale University researcher Martin Kriegel and his colleagues report that one type of gut bacteria can escape the intestine and cause trouble in other organs.

MARTIN KRIEGEL (Yale University):

It traveled outside the gut into the liver and lymph node of the animal. And by doing so, it promoted auto-immune disease by stimulating the immune cells in the actual tissues.


It’s called E. gallinarum, and Kriegel says it triggers liver disease in mice, and it’s also implicated in human disorders, including Lupus. The team found they could suppress the disease in mice by vaccinating them against E. gallinarum. The hope is that human autoimmune diseases might eventually be treatable in the same way. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon