This is how antibodies maintain good gut bacteria

This is under the supervision of the University and Inselspital Bern. The researchers write about it in the journal Nature. When infection occurs, the immune system produces antibodies in order to eliminate the pathogens that cause the disease. In particular, many of the so-called IgA antibodies, which are mainly found in the mucous membranes, are also directed against good intestinal bacteria. In this way, you prevent intestinal diseases, for example.

Researchers led by Tim Rolinsky and Andrew Macpherson of the University and Inzelspital Bern have now used a mouse model to investigate how antibodies make it difficult for a type of E. coli bacterium. “We were able to show that the immune system specifically recognizes these bacteria and limits growth and activity,” said Rolinsky, according to a letter from the Bern Foundation. For example, IgA antibodies reduce the motility of bacteria or interrupt the absorption of sugar components for the metabolism of microorganisms.

According to the researchers, it has not been clarified exactly how the immune system keeps the good bacteria in balance and at the same time repels pathogenic intruders. However, Rawlinske stressed that a basic understanding of this mechanism is important for vaccine development, for example: “If we understand exactly how and where antibodies recognize microorganisms in the gut, we can also design vaccines against disease-causing organisms in a more targeted way.”

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