Gut bugs, which play an important role in the biology of animals and humans, could be driving their appetites too, say researchers in France.
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.
AdvertisementNorris 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 nervous system.
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 jejuni, 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 cells.
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Bacteriology.