About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Appendix Acts as a “safe House” for Beneficial Bacteria in the Human Gut

by Medindia Content Team on October 9, 2007 at 5:09 PM
Font : A-A+

Appendix Acts as a “safe House” for Beneficial Bacteria in the Human Gut

A new research has revealed that the appendix acts as a "safe house" for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut.

Researchers from Duke University Medical Center hypothesize that the beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhoea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut.

Advertisement

"While there is no smoking gun, the abundance of circumstantial evidence makes a strong case for the role of the appendix as a place where the good bacteria can live safe and undisturbed until they are needed," William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of experimental surgery, said.

The appendix is a slender two- to four-inch pouch located near the juncture of the large and small intestines.

While physicians have debated its exact function in humans, it is known that there is immune system tissue in the appendix.
Advertisement

The gut is populated with different microbes that help the digestive system break down the foods we eat. In return, the gut provides nourishment and safety to the bacteria.

Parker now believes that the immune system cells found in the appendix are there to protect, rather than harm, the good bacteria. "Our studies have indicated that the immune system protects and nourishes the colonies of microbes living in the biofilm," Parker said.

"By protecting these good microbes, the harmful microbes have no place to locate. We have also shown that biofilms are most pronounced in the appendix and their prevalence decreases moving away from it," he added.

He also said that the new function of the appendix might be envisioned if conditions in the absence of modern health care and sanitation are considered.

"Diseases causing severe diarrhea are endemic in countries without modern health and sanitation practices, which often results in the entire contents of the bowels, including the biofilms, being flushed from the body," Parker said.

He added that the appendix's location and position is such that it is expected to be relatively difficult for anything to enter it as the contents of the bowels are emptied.

"Once the bowel contents have left the body, the good bacteria hidden away in the appendix can emerge and repopulate the lining of the intestine before more harmful bacteria can take up residence," Parker said.

"In industrialized societies with modern medical care and sanitation practices, the maintenance of a reserve of beneficial bacteria may not be necessary. This is consistent with the observation that removing the appendix in modern societies has no discernable negative effects," he added.

Parker said that several decades ago, scientists suggested that people in industrialized societies might have such a high rate of appendicitis because of the so-called "hygiene hypothesis". This hypothesis posits that people in "hygienic" societies have higher rates of allergy and perhaps autoimmune disease because they and hence their immune systems have not been as challenged during everyday life by the host of parasites or other disease-causing organisms commonly found in the environment. So when these immune systems are challenged, they can over-react.

"This over-reactive immune system may lead to the inflammation associated with appendicitis and could lead to the obstruction of the intestines that causes acute appendicitis," Parker said. "Thus, our modern health care and sanitation practices may account not only for the lack of a need for an appendix in our society, but also for much of the problems caused by the appendix in our society," he added.

Their study appears online in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Source: ANI
LIN/C
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Appendicitis Shigellosis Appendectomy MRSA - The Super Bug Food Safety for Health Antibiotics Appendicitis in Children 

Recommended Reading
Appendicitis
Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix with intense, migrating abdominal pain caused by ......
Appendectomy - Animation
Slides and animation of Appendicitis and Appendectomy by both Open and Laparoscopic surgical ......
Antibiotics
Antibiotics are among the most used and abused medications. This article explains some general featu...
Appendicitis in Children
Appendicitis in children produces symptoms of abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, vomiting and feve...
MRSA - The Super Bug
MRSA infection is the most dreaded hospital or community acquired infection that can become ......
Shigellosis
Shigellosis or Bacillary Dysentery is a common cause of gastro-enteritis worldwide and can cause blo...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use