VALENCIA, Spain—Viruses called bacteriophages affect bacteria that populate mammal gut environment and may cause human diseases, according to Human Microbiology Institute (HMI). The findings were shared during an oral presentation at the largest European microbiologist gathering, FEMS 2017, in Spain.
The study that describes bacteriophages as a “new group of human viral diseases” was presented by Dr. George Tetz, head of research and development at HMI.
“They are focusing on a very important subject, showing the consequences of bacteriophages effect on human gut microbiome,” said Dr. Adriana Heguy, professor of pathology at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center and director of the Genome Technology Center. “They have shown for the first time that the impact of bacteriophages may result in increased gut permeability, which is associated with diabetes, Alzheimer's, autism, heart conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and others. This could pave the road to further breakthrough research and new discoveries related to the origin of many diseases.”
HMI’s high-profile study looked into effects of exposure to bacteriophages on gut microbiome and intestinal permeability in rats. The study for the first time reportedly shows that bacterial viruses, which exist both in the environment and in the human gut, and were previously considered to be safe for humans, can lead to a pathological condition known as the “leaky gut syndrome.” In turn, leaky gut results in an altered immune response and triggers a variety of currently incurable human pathologies including those associated with neuroinflammation. The HMI’s results showed increased gut permeability accompanied with reductions in Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibacterium spp., the useful bacteria for mammals, as well as in other bacteria groups. For the first time a research study showed how bacteriophages could produce conditions that may cause above-mentioned diseases.
This study, conducted by Drs. Victor and George Tetz, was also recently presented in an oral session at world’s largest microbiologist conference, ASM’s Microbe 2017, June 1-5 in New Orleans. The research work, which has been conducted by HMI together with NYU specialists throughout the year, has been accepted for publication by Nature magazine’s Scientific Reports under the “Bacteriophages as possible new mammalian pathogens” title. Previously, George and Victor Tetz published their findings in Gut Pathogens.
“As far as we know, this is the first study to indicate that bacteriophages can cause human diseases. Infection from bacteriophages that are known solely to target bacteria may be harmful to mammals including humans, opening new ways to prevent and cure the neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and other diseases with so-called autoimmune component,” said George Tetz.
HMI researchers have also said that one of the mechanisms of spreading many diseases may be the fact that bacteriophages can be found almost anywhere, from the ocean to everyday meals. According to their findings, infection of human microbiota by bacteriophages can be considered a new class of viral diseases in mammals.
SOURCE: Human Microbiology Institute