New research has found a link between certain bacteria and fungus that interact in the guts of Crohn's sufferers.
Crohn’s disease causes thousands of people discomfort and decreases quality of life with symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue and increased weight loss due to any foods needing to be avoided. Up until now doctors have been mystified as to why people develop Crohn’s.
A new study, however, may have cracked the reason why the inflammatory bowel condition flairs up in certain people and it could be down to a particular fungus and two types of bacteria that go towards developing the condition.
The research team from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine say their discovery could lead to new, effective treatments in the future and are hopefully more people can be relieved of the debilitating symptoms.
The study involved analyzing stool samples from 20 Crohn’s sufferers and 28 people without Crohn’s from nine families, together with 21 Crohn’s-free patients from four further families. The results found high interactions between two bacteria – E. Coli and Serratia – and a fungus called Candida tropicalis, all of which were present in high quantities in the people with Crohn’s disease compared to the healthy participants. This points to the interactions happening in the intestines and causing inflammation and symptoms to occur.
“Most of the studies that have looked at this disease looked at bacteria only,” lead author of the study, Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, told CBS News. “We looked at both bacteria and fungi because it is very well known that these organisms both live in our body and definitely interact with one another. So to look at bacteria alone, we didn’t really have the full story.”
Despite looking at both bacteria and fungus and the role they both play in the disease, the team say environment and diet also likely to play a big part in the development of Crohn’s however more research needs to be undertaken to full understand why people develop Crohn’s in the first place.
“I think that within five years, with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to move into what’s called translational research,” he said, “which means you take your research findings and start working to develop a drug or probiotic,” stated Ghannoum.
Details of the study were published in the journal mBio.