Weill Cornell researchers identify cells responsible for immune response in gut — 4 insights

New York City-based Weill Cornell Medicine scientists identified the immune cells and bacterial antigens that control gut fungi immune responses, according to an article in Science.

Here's what you should know:

1. The scientists said defects in the fungus-fighting abilities of cells contribute to Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel disease forms.

2. Iliyan Iliev, PhD, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell, specializes in gut fungi research and is the senior author of the newly published study. Study researchers discovered a white blood cell, CX3CR1+, that acts as the immune system's gut fungal regulator.

3. This white blood cell is responsible for the initiation of the gut's immune response to fungus.

4. To test this, researchers created colitis in mice and added fungal cells to increase the severity of the illness. Mice that lacked CX3CR1+ were more susceptible to the disease than mice that had the aforementioned cell. Researchers then introduced an antifungal drug treatment which reversed the course of the disease in the mice without Cx3CR1+ indicating fungal overgrowth was the cause.

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