Chronic bowel disease: A fungus likely to cause Crohn's disease

Chronic bowel disease: A fungus likely to cause Crohn's disease

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New knowledge could lead to new treatment options
Researchers found that a fungus could be the key factor in the development of Crohn's disease. This inflammatory bowel disease causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. The finding could lead to new treatment for Chron's disease.

Scientists from the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center found in an investigation that a fungus (Candida tropicalis) could be the cause of Crohn's disease. Strong fungal-bacterial interactions were found in patients with Crohn's disease. The doctors published their results in the "MBIO" journal.

Study examines sufferers and their healthy family members
Researchers have been looking for new treatment options for chronic bowel diseases for a long time. In the future there could be more effective treatment for the previously chewable inflammatory bowel disease Crohn's disease. A new study has now examined patients with Crohn's disease and their healthy family members. The researchers analyzed the test persons' faeces samples for their investigation. A bacterial interaction with a certain fungus was found.

The intestine of the sick contains higher amounts of bacteria and a fungus
In the subjects with Chron's disease, significantly higher amounts of two types of bacteria (Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens) and one fungus (Candida tropicalis) were found, the experts explain. The values ​​were much higher than among the healthy family members. This indicates that the bacteria and fungi interact in the intestines. This is the first time that a fungus has been linked to Chron's disease, the authors add.

Immune responses from Crohn's disease patients are abnormal
In addition to genetic and nutritional factors, bacteria can play a major role in the development of Crohn's disease. Patients with the disease have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, explains lead author Mahmoud Ghannoum.

Study focuses on examining fungi in the gut
Most researchers focus their research on bacteria. Only a few doctors examined the role of fungi, which are also present in every human gut. The new study has now provided important information for the development of Crohn's disease. Unfortunately, this chronic bowel disease is often discovered late. The doctors hope that this could change in the future.

Does the study lead to the development of new treatment methods and medications?
The results could now lead to a new form of treatment, including new drugs and probiotics. These have the potential to make a qualitative difference in the lives of those affected, the scientists say.

Is Candida tropicalis the cause of Crohn's disease?
The Candida tropicalis fungus often causes infections and could be involved in the development of Crohn's disease. This fungus was found in higher amounts in the gut of patients with Crohn's disease, the researchers say.

The causes of Crohn's disease are still largely unknown
We understand how Crohn's disease develops, the authors explain. Nevertheless, the causes and much more are still unknown. The disease is usually treated with anti-inflammatory agents, steroids, immunomodulators, and other medications. None of these are free of side effects, the scientists add. Here we urgently need a better understanding of the disease and more effective treatment methods, according to the researchers. (as)

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