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Recently, the latest research results published by Natural Microorganism magazine, some phage can infect the gastrointestinal flora, which may be related to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Microbial communities have recently been a hot spot in inflammatory disease research, and an article published in May this year suggested that the intestinal flora may be associated with multiple sclerosis. The findings of this study undoubtedly further reveal the role played by bacteriophages that infect the flora during this process.


The first author of this article, Breck Duerkop from the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said, “The number of phage on the mucosal surface of the intestine increases during inflammatory bowel disease, suggesting that phage plays a role in IBD. But a very important role.”


In the study, the researchers collected the excretion of mice in the T-cell metastatic enteritis model, and analyzed the gene data of the phage in the mouse excreta by gene sequencing and compared the genetic data of healthy wild mice. Subsequently, changes in the gut flora of these genes were followed according to information in the NCBI database. The results show that in the mouse model of T cell metastasis, changes in the genus composition of the intestinal flora are consistent with changes in the intestinal tract of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers then continued to track changes in the phage population in the mouse model, and the results were strikingly consistent with the data in NCBI.

Changes in intestinal flora of T-cell transplanted mice are consistent with patients with inflammatory bowel disease

The phage composition of the T-transplanted mouse model was significantly different on the 42nd day of the experiment compared with the healthy mouse model.


Duerkop said: “The data in the mouse model is consistent with the actual patient data. If we can determine how the phage affects the changes in the intestinal flora, then we may be able to find a cure for the disease.”

Duerkop wrote in the article that host inflammation has many interfering factors on phage community. For example, in this case, some phage may insert the genome into bacteria to form lysogenic bacteria, and the inflammatory environment will stimulate part of phage proliferation. , resulting in a change in phage abundance. He believes that if it can prevent the destruction of probiotics by some phage, it may play a role in the treatment of diseases.


David Rubin, MD, professor of gastroenterology, liver disease and nutrition at the University of Chicago, who has no interest in this article, said: “This study confirms the association of phage population changes with inflammation and depicts the intestinal flora in IBD. This is a very important role for us to understand the complex ecosystems in our body. There are one trillion species of organisms in our large intestine, including phage and yeast. The relationship between microbes and IBD is still at present. In the early stages, whether the flora drives inflammation or inflammation has changed the flora. This major breakthrough is likely to make those IBD patients feel happy, but after all, people are not mice, we need more Evidence to confirm the universality of this phenomenon in humans.”

The phage therapy mentioned by Duerkop in the article includes the promotion of probiotic growth by phage to treat disease or the use of phage as a marker for treatment population segmentation. He believes that the future of this technology is very broad. The FDA has not yet approved any phage therapy to enter the clinic, but this therapy has been used for very limited human studies. Although this study reveals a correlation between phage and IBD, the causal link between the two requires further experimental data to further support. And if this treatment concept is supported by sufficient clinical data, it is likely to bring breakthroughs in the treatment of IBD.


IBD is a general term for a class of diseases, including common Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. All of these diseases involve the gastrointestinal system with chronic inflammation, including patients of varying nature and severity. Most of the patients did not have any symptoms at the beginning of the disease and then suddenly developed symptoms. The cause of the disease is still unclear. In the United States, the number of patients with this type of disease has reached 1.6 million.

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