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TB infection in lungs decreases diversity of gut bacteria

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence in mice that a tuberculosis (TB) infection in the lungs triggers immune system signaling to the gut that temporarily decreases the diversity of bacteria in that part of the digestive tract.

The Johns Hopkins researchers showed that this decrease in diversity of gut bacteria as measured in fecal samples happened quickly ā€” within six days after mice were exposed to an aerosol mixture of M. tuberculosis, the TB bacteria. This prompt shift in diversity, they say, suggests that the immune system is attacking the gut bacteria, decreasing the overall diversity by causing certain bacteria to outgrow others in the gut.

The finding was also replicated using a different strain of the TB microbe, according to a report on the work in the May 12 issue of the online journal PLOS One.

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