Skip to content

Molecules alter the gut microbiota to reverse narrowing of arteries in an animal study.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease involving the build-up of plaque consisting of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other blood-based substances. Sequentially, the plaque hardens and narrows the arteries to limit the flow of oxygen-rich blood around the body, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and even death. As heart disease and brain aneurysms are the second leading killer of people worldwide much money has been spent researching these pathologies. The gut microbiome is a symbiotic entity made up of thousands of different species of microorganisms living in our gastrointestinal tract contributing to many important functions within the host. A highly reactive bacterial colony, the gut microbiome instantly restructures in response to factors affecting its environment, such as diet or therapeutics, to aid in the development of several chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis. Now, a study from researchers at the Scripps Research Institute develops molecules capable of reducing unhealthy gut bacteria to reverse the narrowing of arteries in an animal study. The team states their cyclic peptide molecules remodeled the mouse gut microbiota into a healthier state to reduce cholesterol levels strongly inhibiting atherosclerosis. The study is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Previous studies show when people overuse antibiotics or consume diets rich in carbs, fats, and sugar, the gut microbiome can be altered to promote disease. Indeed, it is well-established a microbiome depleted due to a diet high in fats and carbs can increase the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. This link has led to much work to identify techniques capable of remodeling the microbiome to roll back any adverse changes to restore good health. The current study engineers and tests cyclic peptides to alter the mouse gut microbiome to inhibit atherosclerosis.

The current study utilizes mice genetically predisposed to high cholesterol. The mice were fed a high fat and carb-loaded diet, leading to raised cholesterol-levels and atherosclerosis in the animals. The molecules developed and selected to alter the animals’ gut microbiota to a low-fat dietary status were imbibed via drinking water, traveling through the gut without entering the bloodstream, or causing any adverse side effects. Results show daily oral administration of the molecules in water reduced cholesterol levels and atherosclerotic plaques in the mice. Data findings show the peptide treatment successfully reprogrammed the microbiome to suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines, and improve the gut barrier integrity whilst increasing the level of immune cells in the intestine.

The lab states they significantly slowed the growth of undesirable gut bacteria in mice, changing the balance in favor of the species associated with a healthier diet. They go on to add their manufactured peptides produced favorable outcomes in atherosclerosis-prone mice fed a high-fat diet, with a marked reduction in the animals’ levels of cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaques compared to untreated mice.

The team surmises they have developed molecules possessing the ability to rehabilitate the intestinal microbiome, causing a stark reduction in blood-based cholesterol and arterial plaques. For the future, the researchers state they are now evaluating their peptides in diabetic mouse-models, a metabolic disorder linked to the debilitated gut microbiota.

Source: Scripps Research

Get Healthinnovations delivered straight to your inbox:

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.