A protein in colon cells that is known to be important for intestinal homeostasis also functions as a barrier to infection by regulating antimicrobial peptides in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, report researchers from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in Lille, France, and from several other European institutions (Peyrin-Biroulet L et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:8772-8777).
The researchers found that mice engineered to lack the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPAR-γ) were less able than control animals to fight off intestinal bacteria. They also found that biopsied tissue from the colon of patients with Crohn disease had reduced expression of antimicrobial peptides regulated by the protein.
Friedrich MJ. Blocking Intestinal Bacteria. JAMA. 2010;304(1):32. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.867