A gut-boosting molecule that can be mixed with antibiotics to fight off stubborn bugs has been identified by New York researchers. A research team led by Katharina Brandl at the Sloan-Kettering Institute treated mice with antibiotics, and found that levels of Reg3g, a protein made by "friendly" bacteria that kill the gut bacterium vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), dropped by 80 per cent.
The researchers said that the study indicated that a lack of Reg3g was partly to blame for the VRE increase that follows antibiotic treatment, reports New Scientist magazine.
Moving a step further, the researchers gave the mice doses of lipopolysaccharide along with antibiotics to see whether boosting Reg3g levels could help.
LPS is a molecule found on the surface of some bacteria that stimulates the gut to make Reg3g, according to background information in a research article in Nature magazine.
The researchers observed that the mice ended up with higher levels of Reg3g than the animals that just took antibiotics.
The researchers said that LPS-antibiotics combo receiving mice also had fewer VRE colonies, about the same number as mice that had taken no antibiotics.