Ulcer Inducing Stomach Bacterium Could Help Combat Obesity

The same stomach microbe that experts believe is responsible for ulcers, gastric cancer, and other health issues could also help control a person’s body weight and glucose tolerance, researchers from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute of Virginia Tech report in a recently-published study.

Helicobacter pylori, a microaerophilic bacterium found in the stomach, has been linked to the development of duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer, and has also been found in patients suffering from chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers. It is present in the stomachs of approximately half of the world’s population, though it is on the decline and that phenomenon could also be associated with the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in developed countries.

Josep Bassaganya-Riera, Director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP) at Virginia Tech, said in a statement.

H. pylori is the dominant member of the gastric microbiota and infects about half of the world population. WhileH. pylori infection can be associated with severe disease, it helps control chronic inflammatory, allergic, or autoimmune diseases

Writing in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLoS ONE, the investigators “demonstrated for the first time that gastric colonization with H. pylori exerts beneficial effects in mouse models of obesity and diabetes,” Bassaganya-Riera said.

They discovered that mice infected with the bacterium displayed less insulin resistance than both uninfected mice and mice infected with a more virulent strain of H. pylori.

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