16 Dec House Dust Mites May Play a Role in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Meri K Tulic PhD
Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis
The International Inflammation ‘in-FLAME’ Network
Worldwide Universities Network
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Tulic: We know that damaged epithelial gut barrier is a hallmark of gut inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It has been long known that respiratory allergens such as house-dust mites (HDM) are the main causes of epithelial destruction in the lungs and initiation of allergic airway disease such as asthma. We set out to test whether house-dust mites may also be present in the human gut and may contribute to intestinal barrier dysfunction. In this paper, we have shown that house-dust mites is found in the gastrointestinal system of ~50% of all healthy subjects tested and it has detrimental effect on gut barrier function. The mechanisms include its direct destruction of tight-junction proteins which normally hold adjoining epithelial cells together, resulting in increased gut permeability. This process is driven by cysteine-proteases contained within the mite. In healthy individuals this effect is likely to be regulated by increased production of regulatory IL-10 (an anti-inflammatory mediator); our preliminary data indicate that a defect in regulatory responses may exist in IBS patients.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Tulic: We know that incidence of gut inflammatory diseases is increasing at an alarming rate and breakdown of gut barrier function is implicated in its onset. Here we show evidence for a direct role of house-dust mites in human gut which gives us an insight into an environmental trigger, previously overlooked, that may contribute to gut disease in susceptible individuals.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Tulic: There is much research to be done in this area. Defining susceptible individuals is important as we know that genetics play a critical role in IBD and IBS. Secondly, defining regulatory or compensatory mechanisms in response to house-dust mites , in health and disease must be examined carefully. Furthermore, epidemiological studies are needed to examine the potential link between environmental exposure to HDM and incidence of gut disease. HDM is an ubiquitous, environmental factor and assessing ones direct exposure will be of challenge. Eliminating one’s exposure to house-dust mites is almost impossible thereby future research focus would aim at ways to restore regulatory responses to HDM in susceptible individuals.
Meri K Tulic PhD (2015). House Dust Mites May Play a Role in Inflammatory Bowel Disease