Thursday, October 27, 2005

Building an Intestine

So I was browsing through the archives of the New England Journal of Medicine and came across this article on the importance of commensal microflora, the bacteria that live in symbiosis within our intestine. Apparently,

commensal bacteria interact with the intestinal surface and, to some degree, trigger TLR signaling. Surprisingly, this interaction is actually required to maintain the architectural integrity of the intestinal surface. Thus, it seems that the epithelium and resident immune cells do not simply tolerate commensal bacteria but are dependent on them.


TLRs are toll-like receptors on the cells of the innate immune system that recognise signals from intestinal bacteria. Commensal bacteria secrete TLR ligands such as lipopolysaccharide and lipoteichoic acid, which interact in the normal intestine with a population of surface TLRs. The resultant basal signaling, which is normally ongoing, enhances the ability of the epithelial surface to withstand injury while also priming the surface for enhanced repair responses.

Wow. Who'd have thought . . .

9 Comments:

Blogger yasmine said...

Okay, so I didn't understand any of that, but, still, that's really cool.

12:29 PM  
Blogger najm said...

Yeah, seriously dude, speak some English.

1:33 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

OK, so what the article says is that instead of hanging about sullenly in our gut making fart-gas and some vitamins, the bacterial population is actually engaged in a dynamic dialogue with the cells of the body resulting in a greater ability to respond to stress and maintain the structural integrity of the intestinal wall.

This dialogue, which is going on all the time, is facilitated by substances the bacteria release (lipopolysaccharide and lipotechoic acid) and which go and attach themselves to receptors on the cells of the body, thus creating a continuous volley of signals. This gupshup is responsible for a healthy gut and robust response to injury.

2:15 PM  
Blogger chai said...

ewww. a pathologist. you guys make all those disgusting things sound like dailogues and things you would eat

10:41 PM  
Blogger Crazed Teacher said...

ok i think ive had enuff medicine to last me a life time, though i am catchin a lot of what chai tells me but still i am glad i dont have to take a test for it

3:04 AM  
Blogger Zab said...

didnt undertand a word of it but prolly sounds gr8 to people who know the medical lingo!

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Bushra said...

Yeah. I was studying Psychology today and there was an explanation of how thirst works: a few on-call "police cells" tell the brain when the water supply is low so the brain sends renin to the kidney which produces anti-diuretic something which then redirects the existing water to stay in the body.. etc etc. And it;s like woah there's a whole world in there which is totally out of our understanding and comprehension and no human could even think of such an amazing system. darwinism indeed. bah. Then you read how people are opposing intelligent design or creationism being even MENTIONED in schools and think about how stupid and missing out on the real beauty of life they are.

12:39 PM  
Blogger yasmine said...

Okay, so I still don't really understand any of this, but I continue to check the comments compulsively regardless because it's still fascinating.
p.s. KK bro: links to poetry on my weblog. Thought you might enjoy, being a fellow word lover and all.

3:37 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Zab: give it time - it's fascinating.

Bushra: isn't it awesome!

Yasmine: thanks.

2:01 PM  

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