A strain of bacteria that inhabit the intestine secrete anti-inflammatory chemicals that may play a role in keeping Crohn disease (CD) in check, according to findings by French researchers (Sokol H et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi:10.1073/pnas.0804812105 [published online ahead of print October 20, 2008]).
Scientists previously had found that patients with CD had a marked reduction in the number and types of bacteria within the Clostridium leptum group. In the new study, the researchers found that Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a major member of this group, was particularly depleted in patients with the disorder. Furthermore, patients with CD who had a significantly lower proportion of F prausnitzii at the time of surgery were more likely to experience endoscopic relapse within 6 months; they also had a lower proportion of this bacterium compared with CD patients who were still in remission.
Stephenson J. Gut Bacteria and Crohn Disease. JAMA. 2008;300(19):2239. doi:10.1001/jama.300.19.2239-b