There is good news for people who are suffering from Crohn’s disease. This is a severe condition which involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. New research carried out by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has offered clues into what causes the disease. This might lead to the development of new treatments and a proper cure.
People suffering from Crohn’s disease may experience symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and persistent diarrhea. Currently, there is no permanent cure for this condition which can become life threatening at times.
The underlying cause of the condition is not known. It develops due to several factors which may include genetics and an improperly functioning immune system. Certain bacteria might also lead to the disease, as proved by previous studies.
A new study published in the Bio journal suggests that fungi may also be responsible for this disease. Major studies and research on Crohn’s disease looked only at bacteria as a cause. New studies have observed both bacteria and fungi. Both of these organisms dwell within the human body and interacts with each other. By looking only at bacteria, the full cause was not covered.
In the study, the researchers have analyzed fecal samples from twenty people with Crohn’s disease and twenty-eight people without the condition. They have been chosen from nine families. Additionally, more twenty-one people without the condition were chosen from four more families.
The results proved strong interactions between the fungus and bacteria in the people with Crohn’s disease. The bacteria were found out to be E.coli and Serratia marcescens. One fungus known as candida tropicalis was detected. The presence of all the three organisms was higher in these people compared to the healthy people.
It was suggested that the bacteria and fungi interact with each other in the intestines. This has been the first ever a time that the bacteria Serratia marcescens and a type of fungus have been associated with Crohn’s disease in human beings.
Further, the researchers discovered via a test tube research that these microorganisms work together and produce a biofilm. A biofilm is a thin, slimy layer of microorganisms that forms in the intestines of the body. This biofilm can lead to inflammation which further leads to the symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease.
This study points out these organisms have evolved together. Hence, they can operate in protecting each other. Together, they also cause problems in the human host or the patient. The study also proved that the patients suffering from the condition have lower numbers of useful bacteria in the guts.
Among the different types of bacterial and fungal species which dwell in the intestines, it was observed that the three microorganisms mentioned previously were present in large quantities compared to other bacteria and fungus.
Moreover, several similarities in the gut profiles of the disease affected people were noticed. They were very much different from the people without the condition.
However, it should be kept in mind that bacteria and fungus in the intestines are not the only cause of Crohn’s disease. Other factors like diet, environment also play an important role in causing the disease.
Further research is required for determining the true causes. Experts consider that the findings may lead to new treatment methods like probiotics. Healthy people have been observed as well to find out about the good and bad microorganisms in the body.
The beneficial microorganisms may be utilized in the future to keep a balance in the body by controlling the bad ones. The underlying mechanisms which make the bad microorganisms work together should be determined. This can lead to a development of a new medicine or drug as well.
This study opens a question about whether targeting an antibiotic medicine schedule to Crohn’s disease patients with high amounts of E.coli and Serratia marcescens can be effective. An antifungal medicine may also be introduced for treatment of Crohn’s disease.
The results of the new studies have been found out to be exciting by doctors. It is said that these new findings have helped in improving the knowledge base on Crohn’s disease further. However, the research required being repeated on more people and more populations.
This will enable a better understanding of the role of bacteria and fungi as a cause of Crohn’s disease. The research method is planned to be continued. It is expected that the team of researchers will come across new developments, which might lead to the development of new treatment methods.
The doctors expect that, within a period of five years, a translational research will be developed. This means research findings are taken to work on the development of a probiotic or drug. Along with time, some amount of luck is required.