IBD Triggered by Gut Microbes and Dietary Compounds

Researchers in the U.S. and U.K. have uncovered a link between an antimicrobial toxin that is produced by common gut bacteria to fend off their rivals and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The studies more broadly discovered that, in addition to the well-studied microbial toxin microcin B17, structurally related compounds that are found in many foods and environmental sources can also directly trigger gastrointestinal inflammation by modifying the activity of CD1d, a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule. CD1d is found on intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and hematopoietic cells, and functions to present lipid antigens to natural killer T cells (NKT).

The research teams, led by Richard S. Blumberg, M.D., and Shankar S. Iyer, Ph.D., at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and by Tony Maxwell, Ph.D., at the John Innes Centre in the U.K., hope that their findings could led to the development of new treatments. “These ...