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Research projects

Microbes inside

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Ignacio Rangel

Research subject

Research environments

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.

Akkermansia muciniphila

Picture from Derrien et al. 2004


S Engel, B Mortensen, A Wellejus , N Vera-Jimenez, C Struve, R J Brummer, A Damholt, T Woods, F Shanahan. Safety of Bifidobacterium breve, Bif195, employing a human exercise-induced intestinal permeability model: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial. Benef Microbes. 2022 Aug 3;13(3):243-252

A M van der Geest, I Schukking, R J M Brummer, L H M van de Burgwal , O F A Larsen. Comparing probiotic and drug interventions in irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Benef Microbes. 2022 Aug 3;13(3):183-194.

A M van der Geest, I Schukking, R J M Brummer, H Pieterse, M van den Nieuwboer, L H M van de Burgwal, O F A Larsen. Inadequate safety reporting in the publications of randomised clinical trials in irritable bowel syndrome: drug versus probiotic interventions. Benef Microbes 2022 Aug 3;13(3):195-204.

Bachmann R, Van Hul M, Baldin P, Léonard D, Delzenne N, Belzer C, Ouwerkerk J P, Repsilber D, Rangel I, Kartheuser A, Brummer R J, De Vos W M, Cani P D Akkermansia muciniphila Reduces Peritonitis and Improves Intestinal Tissue Wound Healing after a Colonic Transmural Defect by a MyD88-Dependent Mechanism. Cells, 2022 Aug 27;11(17):2666.

Research groups

Research funding bodies


  • Willem de Vos, Wageningen University Research Centre