Gut bugs, which play an important role in the biology of
animals and humans, could be driving their appetites too, say researchers in
According to Vic Norris and colleagues working at the
University of Rouen, France, the gut bug reacts to the signaling of certain
hormones and responds to the nutrients taken by the hosts and exerts an
influence on their state.
Norris points out that the gut microbes comprise a group of
micro organisms that communicates with the mammalian nervous system to
stimulate the gastro intestinal tract.
'Bacteria both recognize and
synthesize neuroendocrine hormones. This has led to the hypothesis that
microbes within the gut comprise a community that forms a microbial organ
interfacing with the mammalian nervous system that innervates the
gastrointestinal tract', say the authors of the study.
The enteric system or the gut region is made up of half a
billion neurons, compared with the 85 billion neurons constituting the central
There is enough evidence to support the fact that the gut
bugs are involved in diseases like cancer, metabolic syndrome, thyroid
disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
These bugs are also capable of bringing about mood
disorders by influencing the action of dopamine and peptides which control
hunger. The gut bacterium, Campylobacter
, is reported to be involved in creating anxiety in mice.
Most of the gut micro organisms are friendly as they help
in enhancing immunity and aid in digestion. These bacteria far outnumber human
The results of the study have been published in
the Journal of Bacteriology.