Thursday, April 14, 2016

Could having worms be beneficial for Crohn's patients?

A recent study suggest that parasitic worms could lead to new drug development for people with Crohn's disease and other bowel related diseases.  Mice with a mutation in the Nod2 gene were used in the experiment because its similar to the gene in humans that is associated with Crohn's.  The introduction of parasites caused the mice to have more mucus in their intestines than uninfected mice, as well as more bacteria from the Clostridiules family and less B. vulgatus bacteria.  This shift in the bacteria populations and increase of mucus in the intestines was shown to calm inflammation in the bowels.

Studies showed that chemicals from T helper cells, interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, are triggered by the worms which stimulate mucus production.  The Clostridiales bacteria feed on the mucus which allows them to outcompete the bacteria from the Bateriodales family.  When the interleukin-13 was blocked, mucus production was prevented and there was no shift in the bacteria populations.  Scientists believe that giving interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 to uninfected mice could alter the production of mucus and balance of bacteria without the introduction of parasites to the organism.

Although it seems like it could be a good idea, the article states that some individuals that took a deworming drug experienced negative consequences.  For these individuals, they had less Clostridiales and more Bacteriodales bacteria populations in their gut due to a significant drop in Trischuris trichiura whipworm eggs.  Evidently, more research needs to be done.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like they need to do more research but this could potentially alter the lives of crohn's patients forever. The worms can be very beneficial to their digestive processes. The only thing is, with or without crohns, I do not think I would voluntarily introduce parasites to my body.