A clinical research carried out by scientists at the UC Davis Health has led to a finding in the digestive tract that can help improve digestive functions. According to the finding, an enzyme in the colon lining produces hydrogen peroxide for defense of the body from gut microbes. The finding is published in the Dec 9 issue of the journal Cell Host and Microbe, and it throws light in the way microorganisms are spatially lined in the colon. Also, the finding calls for a new approach to treat gut inflammation.
“In human anatomy, most microbes are present in the large intestine, to form a cluster called the gut microbiota. In fact, more than half of the human body comprises microbes that do not stand oxygen very well,” said the lead author of the study.
Furthermore, the gut microbiota is kept away to come in contact with the colon. This separation is essential to prevent inflammation due to unnecessary immune responses of gut microbes. Scientists believe oxygen released by cells maintains spatial separation to prevent microbes from coming in close contact with the intestinal lining.
Release of hydrogen peroxide in colon lining limits microbial growth
“Meanwhile, for the study, researchers studied the spatial relationships between the bacteria in the gut and the colon,” said the lead author of the study. It revealed that cells in the lining of the colon release hydrogen peroxide, not oxygen, thereby limiting microbial growth.
In the human physiology, NOX1 – an enzyme present in the intestinal lining is a significant source of H2O2 in the colon. The naturally produced H2O2 serves as a filter to regulate the location of microbiota in the colon. In fact, pathogens that use hydrogen peroxide can also do so when they are directly joined to the intestinal lining.