An unexpected source of innovation – teach me about science

As disgusting as this may sound, in fact, fecal transplants are used as an essentially completely safe and effective treatment for recurrent infections from opportunistic bacteria known as Clostridium difficile; Likewise, it is reported that they can be used against chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome and even against metabolic and neuropsychiatric diseases.

The entire procedure is called fecal germ culture, which involves introducing a safe and properly processed fecal solution from a healthy donor into the digestive tract of a sick individual. The aim is to replace the patient’s intestinal flora with “healthy” microorganisms or bacteria from the donor.

Why does this work as a treatment? Well, the microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract (intestinal flora) have a mutually beneficial charter; While our bodies provide them with the ideal conditions for survival and nutrition, these microorganisms contribute to the vital functions of our body which help in maintaining the health of individuals. In this way, in some diseases, the intestinal microflora is observed to be disturbed and contribute to the pathological mechanism, therefore, the exchange of healthy microorganisms can protect against this effect.

In this sense, since the gut flora affects our health, it is also important in the mechanisms of aging. It has been determined that, at this normal stage of human development, individuals are characterized by an altered composition of the gut microbiota associated with some of the hallmarks of aging such as chronic inflammation, decreased tissue function, and increased susceptibility to certain chronic diseases. associated with puberty.

In this context, some researchers have set out to study what can happen when feces are grown from young to old and vice versa. The most important questions to be addressed were whether the features of aging could be reversed by this treatment or, conversely, whether the transplant was able to cause premature aging along with the diseases associated with this stage.

In this way, the exchange of fecal germ culture between young mice and the elderly was carried out, and the results were astonishing and revealed very important questions to consider. Transfer of aged spores to young mice caused these animals to show signs of aging implicated in deteriorating gut, brain and eye functions causing accelerated inflammation, functional loss of an important eye protein and loss of ocular integrity. Intestinal barrier, in contrast, these effects were reversed in old mice after transfer of young and healthy microbes.

This supports the fact that a healthy gut microbiome is important to the health of individuals, as well as the fact that its alteration during aging has a role in the emergence of certain age-related diseases. In this way, the results obtained here show that there is a possibility of approaching fecal culture as a therapeutic alternative against some properties of degradation during aging, although this requires different investigations and these results are replicated in humans.

Finally, this does not mean that fecal transplants can be a philosopher’s stone in this age, however, they can help assess the damage and adverse effects that occur during aging.

This note was based on the study published in: microbiome

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