The Blog of a Pioneer of the Intestinal Microbiota

Transient Osmotic Perturbation Causes Long-Term Alteration to the Gut Microbiota1

Conditions of food intolerance or malabsorption, but above all the use of laxatives, can cause an osmotic diarrhea, determined by the recall of water and mineral salts inside the intestinal tract.

What we know today, thanks to a paper published by the group of Tropini et al. on Cell, are the consequences that such situations cause at the level of the intestinal ecosystem.

Using mice as a model, the data presented show an adaptive immune response (consisting mainly of changes in cytokine levels), a damage to the mucosal barrier and a reduced growth of the commensal bacteria down to a complete disappearance, the same events that can also be observed following bouts of diarrhea.

Precise strategies need to be identified for repopulation of bacterial microflora following these events, in order to maintain the high natural resilience of the intestinal microbiota.

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