What conditions alter microbial populations throughout the GI tract?
How does transit time affect the gut microbiota?
Slow growing bacteria wont grow in a gut section with a rapid transit time
How does O2 affect gut microbiota?
The population of the gut changes from faculative anaerobes –> Obligate Anaerobes as the gut gets more anaerobic
How does pH affect the gut microbiota?
Different sections of the gut are at different pH’s
Therefore bacteria which thrive on different pH’s grow in different areas of the gut
What are the functions of the GI microbiota?
- Metabolise dietary components/produces essential metabolites
- modify host secretions e.g. mucins and bilirubin
- Defends against pathogens
- Immune system priming
- Host signalling
How does the gut microbiota protect against pathogens?
Direct Competition - Produces active compounds that kill incoming pathogens
Priming the immune system - Training the immune system to fight bacterial infections
Barrier Function - Literally provides a physical barrier to pathogens colonising the gut
pH Inhibition - Most pathogens grow at pH’s over 6. Bacteria break down cellulose to SCFAs (mainly in the colon) which lowers the pH and inhibits pathogen growth
Why is the presence of bacteria important for the gut?
- They prevent pathogenic bacteria colonising you
- Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota can disrupt the homeostasis of the gut and lead to inflammation
- Metabolites of the microbiota are important for energy, signalling molecules and maintaining the immune system
How do antibiotics affect the microbiota?
Most are fairly broad spectrum so kill a lot of commensal bacteria resulting in a loss of diversity which leads to issues:
- Processing your diet
- Pathogenic Infection
- Maintaining the immune system
- Signalling molecules
How do antibiotics cause pathogenic infection of the gut?
antibiotics wipe out a lot of commensals
- > Opportunistic pathogenic infection, (often antibiotic resistant)
- > Toxins, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever etc (often CDAD)
- > Has to be treated with antibiotics
- > Viscous circle of recurrent infections
Clostridium Difficile Associated Diarrhoea
How do we treat dysbiosis of the gut microbiota?
A Faecal Microbial Transplant which essentially inserts the right commensal bacteria back in to begin rebuilding the gut microbia.
Do we have more microbial cells or human cells?
Microbial cells on/in our body well outnumber our own cells
What part of the GI tract is the most populated?
The large intestine, predominantly by anaerobic bacteria
What lifestyle factors change your microbiota?
Diet and Age
What is dietary fibre for?
Large intestine bacteria ferments dietary fibre. The metabolites (e.g. SCFAs) are important for health and have distant effects far outside the gut by circulating through your blood