According to a new study in Nature by Meisel and Hinterleitner et al, signals from the gut microbiota may help induce a pre-leukemic state in individuals with genetic predisposition. Mutations, or deficiency in the gene tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 2 (TET2), occur with advancing age and are often present in patients with leukemia. However, only a proportion of individuals with this mutation, or mice that lack TET2, progress to a pre-leukemic state, suggesting that additional environmental factors are needed to drive disease. Using mice that lack the TET2 gene, researchers at the University of Chicago show that increased small intestinal permeability was present in mice that developed pre-leukemic changes. This “leaky gut” allowed the translocation of microbes, normally residing happily in the lumen of the small intestine, to tissues beyond the gut. Increased IL-6, a molecule that promotes inflammation and that is released following systemic bacterial dissemination, was critical for the development of the pre-leukemic state in TET2 deficient mice. However, antibiotic treatment aborted the pre-leukemic changes. “Interestingly, once the TET2 deficient mice were derived and bred in germ-free conditions at the Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit in McMaster University, no changes in IL-6 were observed, and the pre-leukemic state failed to develop”, said Dr. Heather Galipeau, research associate in Dr. Verdu’s lab. “Maintaining intestinal barrier function could be critical for preventing a pre-leukemic state in genetically susceptible people, in order to restrict intestinal microbes to the gut. The study opens the way to potential new strategies aimed at strengthening the intestinal barrier or preventing systemic infections to reduce the progression to leukemia in individuals that have a genetic predisposition”, said Dr. Verdu, co-author of the study and Canada Research Chair in Diet, Microbiota and Intestinal Inflammation.
We are happy to congratulate two amazing Farncombe researchers who were awarded 5 years of funding from CIHR in the recent announcement. Dr. Lesley MacNeil will study the role of environmental factors in neuronal aging and Dr. Waliul Khan will study the interactions between serotonin signalling and autophagy in the context of gut inflammation. Excellent work!
Mike Surette has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The Academy, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality, and leadership in the microbiological sciences, and his election to this group is a mark of distinction.
Mike studies the human microbiome in health and disease conditions such as cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease. He is an integral part of the Farncombe Institute, actively collaborating with clinical research and directing the McMaster Metagenomic Facility. Congratulations Dr. Surette on this honour!
As part of our commitment to knowledge dissemination and outreach on topics of GI health and disease, members such as Dr. Elena Verdu and her postdoc Heather Galipeau contribute regularly to Gut Microbiota for Health. GMFH is a website created by the European Society for Neurogastroenterology & Motility (ESNM) with the mission to share knowledge, create teaching materials and organize workshops on topics surrounding the gut microbiota and nutrition. As leader of the nutrition section of the site, Dr. Verdu organizes workshops for nutritionists and dieticians and is often asked to contribute to topic specific videos that appear on the site. One recent video on the topic of food sensitivities reached a wide audience and was the most viewed of all the videos from the GMFH Summit 2017 workshop. This is a great example of the important work that clinical and basic scientists in our Institute do to support good science communication with the public and health practitioners.
We would like to welcome Darlene McCann as the new Administrator of the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute. Darlene has worked at McMaster University for over 12 years, first in the office of the Dean & Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences, and then in the office of the Associate Dean, Research, FHS. She was the Executive Assistant to Dr. Stephen Collins in his role as ADR for 11 years.
As Administrator of the Farncombe Institute Darlene is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the efficient operation of the Institute. She will ensure that the financial and administrative support needs of the Institute are met. Darlene will support the Farncombe Institute Executive Committee and Scientific Advisory Board; the BioPharm Program, the Farncombe GI Noon Rounds and the Research in Progress meetings. Darlene will be the liaison between Institute members and Health Research Services, as well as liaising with Human Resources.
Darlene says that she is looking forward to the challenges this new position will bring and to working with such a diverse group of people. Although she has only been with the Farncombe Institute since July, she already feels very welcomed here.
Maria Ines Pinto Sanchez has recently been awarded certification as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) by the National Board of Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC). She has successfully completed a comprehensive written examination on nutrition support. Maria joins over 47,000 others worldwide who have validataed their knowledge base in nutrition support and are currently certified in nutrition support.
The NBNSC was established by the American Society for Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) in 1984 to administer certification programs in specialized nutrition support. ASPEN is a multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to improving nutrition support practice through ecucation, research and clinical excellence.
The development of standards of practice, clinical guidelines and the establishment of the NBNSC are efforts ASPEN has made to enhance delivery of safe and effective nutrition support for the protection of the public.
Congratulations to Jun Lu who has provided 20 years of service to the University and to the GI Research Group. Thank you from all of us.
Dr. Miriam Bermudez-Brito is post doctoral fellow with Dr. Elena Verdu. She obtained her PhD at the University of Granada in Spain and did a first postdoc at UMC Groningen and Top Institute of Food & Nutrition, in the Netherlands. The main focus of her research is to study the role of host-microbial interactions and gut proteolytic/anti-proteolytic balance that may affect development of sensitivity to food antigens and increase susceptibility to intestinal inflammatory conditions such as celiac disease and ulcerative colitis.
At McMaster, and supported by Mitacs Accelerate Program, Miriam will test the role of a probiotic bacterium B. longum NCC 2705 in the metabolism of dietary proteins that can cause dysregulated inflammatory reactions in the gut such as gluten and amylase trypsin inhibitors. Miria’s studies will enhance the mechanistic knowledge and provide a basis for human trials and a rational application of these probiotic strains together with the industrial partner, Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, in the prevention or treatment of food sensitivities.