Researchers say that in a mice study, a probiotic bacteria has been found effective in treating colitis.
Colitis is a disease in which the inner tissue of the colon, the mucosa, becomes inflamed and damaged and can result in painful sores. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two major types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
The study showed that mice treated with B. polyfermenticus during the non-inflammatory period of the disease had reduced rectal bleeding, their tissues were less inflamed and they gained more weight than mice that did not receive the treatment.
The study occurred in two phases, one involving live mice with colitis and another that looked at human intestinal cells in a test tube.
The mouse study showed that B. polyfermenticus facilitated the recovery of mice from colitis.
The mice showed reduced rectal bleeding, less inflamed tissue and they gained more weight than the mice that did not receive B. polyfermenticus.
The study also showed that the colon tissue of the treated mice had greater angiogenesis, a process that is necessary for wounds to heal.
"Our findings suggest that the probiotic bacterium, when applied at the healing phase of experimental inflammatory bowel disease, increased angiogenesis and thus enhanced wound healing and facilitated recovery of mice from colitis," said Sang Hoon Rhee, from the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles.
"Angiogenesis is essential for both inflammation and wound healing, and therefore it is important to apply angiogenic therapy when there is a requirement for wound healing and anti-angiogenic therapy when there is active inflammation," Rhee added.
The study appears in the American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.