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Good bacteria may wipe out antibiotic-resistant pathogens: Study

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By Nathan Gray+

11-Mar-2013
Last updated on 11-Mar-2013 at 15:35 GMT

New possibilities for novel probiotic products are on the horizon after researchers report that some probiotic strains can eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the gut.

The study, published in Infection and Immunity, finds that reintroducing normal microbial diversity  to the guts of mice infected with antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria can help to restore microbial balance and eliminate the pathogens.

Led by researchers from Spain and the USA, the research team explain that taking antibiotics causes a reduced diversity of the microbiota which allows antibiotic-resistant pathogens - such as vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) - "to invade and thrive in the intestine."

The new study, however, finds that repopulating the intestines of mice with bacterial species Barnesiella can help to promote the clearance of the antibiotic-restistant strains and thus restore a healthy microbial balance.

"The presence of Barnesiella in fecal samples was associated with protection against VRE, suggesting that in humans, Barnesiella may also confer protection against dense VRE colonization," explained Carles Ubeda from the Centro Superior de Investigacion en Salud Publica, Spain - who led the study.

"The findings could be very useful for development of novel probiotics," said Ubeda.

"Scientifically, this is a major finding that will help us to understand how the microbiota confer resistance against intestinal colonization by pathogens, an important question that remains incompletely answered."

Study details

Ubeda and his colleagues treated mice with antibiotics before giving the mice either faecal transplants from untreated mice, or an aerobic or anaerobic culture from the faecal transplants.

The team found that mice receiving the faecal transplant or an anaerobic culture were able to clear the VRE, while those receiving the aerobic culture failed to do so.

After this, the team compared the microbiota in each group. The big difference: the mice that had cleared the VRE contained bacteria from the anaerobic genus Barnesiella, while those that had failed to clear the VRE did not.

The team suggested that their findings may present an opportunity for the development of novel probiotic cultures that contain the Barnesiella genus.

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Source: Infection and Immunity
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1128/​IAI.01197-12
"Intestinal Microbiota Containing BarnesiellaSpecies Cures Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium Colonization"
Authors: Carles Ubeda, Vanni Bucci, Silvia Caballero, Ana Djukovic, et al

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Hardly surprising!

How can anyone think this is a novel idea?
As ever the Eu has put obstacles in the way of nutritional approaches that have been used for decades and been shown to be both effective and safe.

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Posted by Malcolm Green
13 March 2013 | 21h00

Food for digestion!!!

We have done some Hospital trials using a mix of prebiotics based on Gos and results were very encouraging.The use of prebioitics in conjunction with certain probiotic bacteria,seems a much more sensible approach to that of probiotics where there are just not enough "good" bugs available to have a good enough benefit.

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Posted by Mr.Les Priest
11 March 2013 | 18h15

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