Scientist - News - 29-10-2009:
Probiotic supports wound healing and alleviates bowel inflammation
A new American study sheds new light on the role of blood vessel formation – or angiogenesis – in the context of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It showed that the probiotic Bacillus polyfermenticus can help to treat this condition.
The process of angiogenesis plays a two-faced role in IBD. Previous studies have shown that angiogenesis, if dysregulated, is one of the factors in the inflammation process – but at the same time, it is crucial for wound healing in the intestine after a flare up.
A team of researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles discovered that the probiotic Bacillus polyfermenticus can promote angiogenesis and helps mice to recover from intestinal inflammation. By studying human intestinal cells, they also unraveled the molecular pathways responsible for this effect. Their findings appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Physiology.
B. polyfermenticus is a probiotic widely used in East Asia to cure digestive diseases. The American team tested the effect of this probiotic on mice with colitis. They found that affected mice that consumed the probiotic recovered faster from their inflammation than affected mice in a control group: they gained more weight, had less rectal bleeding and their intestinal tissues were less severely inflamed.
The researchers then exposed human intestinal cells to a medium that contained B. polyfermenticus. The probiotic proved to improve a number of parameters involved in angiogenesis, such as cell migration and the formation of tiny blood vessels. At the molecular level, the researchers showed that the probiotic increases the production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), an immune factor that enhances angiogenesis. The experiment also showed that a cellular pathway called NF-κB plays a critical role in angiogenesis. These findings are important for future research on the cellular mechanisms behind probiotics’ immune-modulating action.
The findings suggest that the probiotic can be especially beneficial during the healing phase of IBD. During flare-up, however, it is crucial that angiogenesis is suppressed rather than stimulated. The new findings, as the researchers note in their paper, may help to design anti-angiogenic treatment to be applied during the active inflammation period.
Article in the American Journal of Physiology