About this project
The proper function of the intestine depends on the homeostasis between the mucosal immune system and the gut-associated microbiota. The gut is a nutrient-rich environment hosting a dynamic microbial community composed of trillions of microorganisms. In the last years, a number of investigations have demonstrated that certain diseases related to gastrointestinal disorders can be associated to changes in the composition and diversity levels of its associated microbiota. It is consequently crucial to elucidate the major mechanisms behind this gut-microbe interaction. In collaboration with our partners at Wageningen University, Holland, we are studying the interaction between Akkermansia muciniphila and the colon mucosa in Post-Infectious IBS (PI-IBS) patients and in healthy individuals. A. muciniphila, which is a member of the Verrucomicrobia phylum, is a common commensal symbiont of humans and is recognised as a mucus-degrading bacterium. Recent studies indicate that the abundance levels of A. muciniphila can be used as reference for the healthy status of the gut. Our studies focus on the understanding of the mechanisms behind this microbe-mucosal interaction.
Our results indicate that the effect of A. muciniphila on the mucosal immune system is different between PI-IBS and healthy individuals. Furthermore, the direct colonization of A. muciniphila on colon of healthy individuals seems to regulate transcription levels of genes associated with metabolic and immunologic signalling.
Picture from Derrien et al. 2004