Researchers led by Patrice Cani, a researcher at the FNRS at the University of Leuven (UCLouvain), have studied a bacterium called subdoligranul that is almost absent in obese and diabetic people, while it is systematically present in healthy people. There is still only one cultivated strain of this bacterial family available in the world (the only known member of a large family), but unfortunately it was not observed that the strain decreased in sick people. This is not unusual: almost 70% of gut bacteria have not yet been identified (it is called dark matter in the gut).
In 2015, the team set out to isolate the bacteria to know its action on the human body, knowing that it is only present in healthy people. For two years, scientists searched, isolated, and cultured about 600 gut bacteria in an attempt to find a second member of the family, without success. Instead, UCLouvain’s team discovered a hitherto unknown bacterium. This achievement is already extraordinary in itself: few scientists have the opportunity in their careers to discover a new genus of bacteria. Because of its odor, researchers called it Dysosmobacter welbionis: Dysosmo (“What smells bad” in Greek), bacterium (Bacteria) and Welbionis for WELBIO, the organization in the Walloon region that funded this research. .
The peculiarity of this bacterium? For starters, it produces butyrate; many other bacteria produce this molecule, which is known to decrease the risk of colon cancer, for example, by strengthening the intestinal barrier and increasing immunity. But the team also observed that Dysosmobacter welbionis was less present in people with type 2 diabetes.
By analyzing 12,000 fecal samples (microbiota) from around the world (i.e., a highly representative population sample), UCLouvain scientists observed that the bacterium is present in 70% of the population. So why has it never been discovered before? Part of the answer probably lies in the improved cultivation techniques developed by the UClouvain team.
The UClouvain team, including Emilie Moens de Hase (PhD student) and Tiphaine Le Roy (postdoctoral fellow), tested the action of Dysosmobacter welbionis in mice. Bacteria increased the number of mitochondria, thus reducing sugar levels and weight, as well as exerting strong anti-inflammatory effects. All of these effects are very promising for type 2 diabetics and obese people and resemble those of Akkermansia, a beneficial bacterium that is at the center of research in Patrice Cani’s lab.
In addition, the effects of bacteria are not limited to the gut: scientists have discovered that certain molecules produced by Dysosmobacter migrate around the body and also have distant effects. This is promising and probably explains the effects of bacteria on adipose tissue, but also opens the door to a possible impact on other diseases such as inflammation and cancer. The team is currently investigating this.
The next step is to test the action of Dysosmobacter welbionis together with that of Akkermansia to see if its association allows to accumulate health effects to observe possible benefits for type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, obesity and cancer. “That’s the fun of research: you look for dinosaur bones and you end up finding a treasure,” says Patrice Cani.
The results of the research are published in the journal Tripa.
Tiphaine Le Roy et al, Dysosmobacter welbionis is a newly isolated human commensal bacterium that prevents diet-induced obesity and metabolic disorders in mice, Tripa (2021). DOI: 10.1136 / GUTJNL-2020-323778
Catholic University of Leuven
Citation: A new bacterium, made in Belgium (2021, June 9), recovered on June 9, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-bacteria-belgium.html
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