Human Microbiology Institute: Bacteriophages May Cause Neurodegenerative Diseases

Viruses Called Bacteriophages Affect Bacteria in Mammal Gut Environment and May Cause Human Diseases, a Study from Human Microbiology Institute Reveals

NEW YORK, NY, July 12, 2017 — Viruses called bacteriophages affect bacteria that populate mammal gut environment and may cause human diseases, according to the Human Microbiology Institute (HMI). The revolutionary findings were revealed today during an oral presentation at the largest European microbiologist gathering, FEMS-2017 in Spain.

The study describes bacteriophages as a new group of Human Viral Diseases and was presented by Dr. George Tetz, head of research and development at HMI. “They are focusing on a very important subject, showing the consequences of bacteriophages effect on human gut microbiome. They have shown for the first time that the impact of bacteriophages may result in increased gut permeability, which is associated with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autism, heart conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and others. This could pave the road to further breakthrough research and new discoveries related to the origin of many diseases,” said Adriana Heguy, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Director, Genome Technology Center.

The HMI’s high-profile study looked into effects of exposure to bacteriophages on gut microbiome and intestinal permeability in rats. It showed – for the first time– that bacterial viruses, which exist both in the environment and in the human gut, and were previously considered to be safe for humans, can lead to a pathological condition known as the “Leaky Gut Syndrome”.  In turn, leaky gut results in an altered immune response and triggers a variety of currently incurable human pathologies including those associated with neuroinflammation. The HMI’s results showed increased gut permeability accompanied with reductions in Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibacterium spp., the useful bacteria for mammals and in other bacteria groups. For the first time a research study showed how bacteriophages could produce conditions that may cause the above-mentioned diseases.

The HMI conducted its work together with NYU specialists; the study was accepted for publication by Nature magazine’s Scientific Reports under the “Bacteriophages as possible new mammalian pathogens” title. Previously, George and Victor Tetz published their findings in Gut Pathogens.

“As far as we know, this is the first study to indicate that bacteriophages can cause human diseases. Infection from bacteriophages that are known solely to target bacteria may be harmful to mammals and humans, opening new ways to prevent and cure the neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and other diseases with so-called autoimmune component,” said Dr. George Tetz.

HMI researchers have also said that one of the mechanisms of spreading many diseases may be the fact that bacteriophages can be found almost anywhere, from the ocean to everyday meals. They say infection of human microbiota by bacteriophages can be considered a new class of viral diseases in mammals.

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