Nanoparticle Probiotic “Backpacks” Show Promise for Treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis

This schematic illustration exhibits probiotic micro organism (teal) coated in a layer of biomaterial as they journey by way of a human gut. Connected to the micro organism are reactive oxygen species nano-scavengers. Credit score: Quanyin Hu

Probiotic micro organism, like elite firefighters heading into the wilderness to fight an uncontrolled blaze, do a greater job of quelling intestine irritation once they’re outfitted with the best gear.

Simply how a lot promise some well-equipped gut-friendly micro organism maintain for bettering therapies of inflammatory bowel illness (IBD), together with Crohn’s illness and ulcerative colitis, has been demonstrated in a brand new examine by researchers on the College of Wisconsin–Madison.

The analysis builds on expertise the workforce, led by Quanyin Hu, a biomedical engineer and professor within the UW–Madison College of Pharmacy, had previously designed. That prior expertise helped helpful micro organism survive an onslaught of abdomen acids and competing microbes lengthy sufficient to determine and multiply within the guts of mice by encasing them inside a really skinny protecting shell.

Quanyin Hu

Quinyan Hu in his lab. Credit score: Sally Griffith-Oh

Though the expertise makes orally administered probiotics more practical, IBD is a posh illness that normally entails greater than intestine microbial communities which are out of whack.

“IBD is a sophisticated illness, and it’s good to assault it at completely different angles,” says Hu.

Due to this fact, Hu and his colleagues devised specialised nanoparticles to neutralize molecules implicated in IBD. They’ve additionally discovered a manner of attaching these nanoparticle “backpacks” to helpful micro organism after encasing them within the protecting coating.

Mixed with the probiotics themselves, these nanoparticle backpacks may considerably enhance — and simplify — IBD therapies.

Whereas the basis causes of IBD are advanced and nonetheless being studied, one offender entails the overproduction of molecules often called reactive oxygen species. Though these molecules are essential for sure human physique capabilities, too lots of them within the intestine can gasoline damaging irritation alongside the liner of the intestines.

Enter the nanoparticle backpacks. The tiny particles are half sulfide and half hyaluronic acid. The acid is powerfully anti-inflammatory, and the sulfide directly targets the reactive oxygen species.

Conducted in mice, Hu’s latest research shows that probiotic bacteria Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 encased in a protective shell and outfitted with the nanoparticle backpacks are significantly better at relieving IBD symptoms than their counterparts without the additional gear. The findings were reported on November 11 in the journal Science Advances.

The researchers estimated the effects of the treatments in two ways: by measuring changes in weight and changes in the colon length of mice with IBD that did and did not receive the treatment.

Like humans, mice with IBD commonly experience weight loss and colon shortening as the disease progresses. Hu and his colleagues found that mice that received the full treatment experienced the least amount of weight loss and much less colon shortening than their counterparts that received partial or no treatments.

Current treatment options depend on the stage and severity of disease, whereas Hu and his colleagues say they have sought a more holistic treatment that could be effective at any stage.

“That’s the most exciting part of this research for me,” says Hu. “We didn’t want to target a specific IBD stage. We wanted to select the most important factors that contribute to curing or treating the disease at whatever stage.”

Additionally, the treatment is administered orally, which could make it a palatable alternative to other more invasive forms of IBD treatment such as partial or complete removal of the colon.

Although the results are quite promising, it will be some time before the treatments are tested in humans.

Next in Hu’s sights is testing whether the nanoparticle backpacks work well with other probiotic bacteria species and documenting whether the treatment has any unwelcome side effects. Simplifying the process of creating and attaching the nano-backpacks will also be crucial for making the treatments clinically feasible.

Reference: “Mucoadhesive probiotic backpacks with ROS nanoscavengers enhance the bacteriotherapy for inflammatory bowel diseases” by Jun Liu, Yixin Wang, William John Heelan, Yu Chen, Zhaoting Li and Quanyin Hu, 11 November 2022, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abp8798

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