MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eric P Skaar, Ph.D., MPH
Director, Division of Molecular Pathogenesis
Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology
Vice Chair for Basic Research, Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Nutrient metals are known to be a critical driver of the outcome of host-pathogen interactions, and C. difficile is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections. C. difficile infection typically occurs following antibiotic-mediated disruption of the healthy microbiome. We were interested in learning how nutrient metals can shape the microbiome and impact the outcome of Clostridium difficile infection.
We found that excess zinc alters the structure of the microbiome and increases the severity of C. difficile infection in mice.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: I think the most important finding in this paper is that, in mice, excess dietary zinc decreases the amount of antibiotics needed to confer susceptibility to C. difficile.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We are interested in defining the mechanism by which excess zinc increases susceptibility to C. difficile as well as determining if these findings are generalizable to humans.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We think these studies underscore that blindly supplementing excess micronutrients can have a profound effect on the outcome of infections, and therefore people should consider what they are putting in their body and avoid megadosing nutrients unless they have a known deficiency.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Joseph P Zackular, Jessica L Moore, Ashley T Jordan, Lillian J Juttukonda, Michael J Noto, Maribeth R Nicholson, Jonathan D Crews, Matthew W Semler, Yaofang Zhang, Lorraine B Ware, M Kay Washington, Walter J Chazin, Richard M Caprioli, Eric P Skaar. Dietary zinc alters the microbiota and decreases resistance to Clostridium difficile infection.
Nature Medicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nm.4174
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