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In a new study published in Nature Microbiology, researchers demonstrated the power of integrating the microbiome and host gene expression data to provide insights into their combined role in gastrointestinal diseases. The microbiome consists of all microbes in the gut including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This study focused on bacteria.
"We identified a common set of host genes and pathways, including pathways that regulate gastrointestinal inflammation, gut barrier protection and energy metabolism that are associated with gut microbiome composition," says Ran Blekhman, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota researcher and corresponding author of the study.
The researchers studied 416 colonic mucosal samples from patients with colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome, in addition to nondisease controls.
According to Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, most studies focus on examining associations in a single disease at a time. As a result, common and unique patterns of host-microbiome associations across multiple disease states remain poorly characterized. Dr. Kashyap is a co-author of the study.
"We found that gut microbes that have been previously implicated in all three diseases, including Streptococcus, associate with different host pathways in each disease," says Dr. Kashyap. "This suggests that both common and disease-specific interplay between gut microbes and host gene regulation may contribute to the underlying causes of gastrointestinal disorders."
Read the rest of the article on the Center for Individualized Medicine blog.
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