A recent study conducted by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, alongside Danish and Hungarian collaborators, delves deeper into the complex human gut microbiome. A striking relationship between lactic acid bacteria and the prevalence of potentially harmful Candida fungus in stool samples from cancer patients was found by the study, which was published in Nature Communications.
The Importance of Understanding the Human Gut Microbiom
The complex community known as the human gut microbiome is made up of numerous various types of bacteria and fungi, and they all interact with one another. A delicate balance exists within this community, and if disrupted, certain species can spread and cause infections. Candida fungi are commonly found in the intestines of healthy individuals and are typically harmless. However, they have the potential to cause serious systemic infections.
New Study Develops Computer Model for Predicting Fungal Presence
Researchers analyzed stool samples from 75 cancer patients and developed a computer model capable of predicting the amount of Candida in other patients with 80% accuracy based solely on bacterial species and amounts. The bacteria observed to be present in high numbers when Candida was also present included mainly oxygen-tolerant species.
Surprising Correlation Found Between Lactic Acid Bacteria and Fungal Infections
The study found that certain bacterial species always appeared in greater numbers when the amount of Candida was high. The discovery of more bacterial species, including Lactobacillus species, surprised the researchers because lactic acid bacteria are often known for their ability to defend against fungal infections.
Possible Explanation for the Correlation
The researchers suggest that Lactobacillus bacteria may actually favor the proliferation of Candida fungi while simultaneously making them less virulent. This might be as a result of the competitive advantage that Candida species have over other fungus due to their ability to modify their metabolism to utilize the lactate generated by lactic acid bacteria.
Future Implications and Further Research
Although the study involved cancer patients, the researchers intend to examine stool samples from healthy individuals in order to create long-term plans based on microbiome analyses. Furthermore, the next stage will involve conducting more thorough genetic investigations of the bacteria to find out if various Lactobacillus species have various impacts on Candida. Overall, the study emphasizes the diversity of the human gut microbiome and the difficulties in comprehending how various microbes interact with one another.