Preclinical study

The existence of certain microorganisms of the intestine can strengthen the ability of the immune system to defend against a viral herpes attack that can cause fatal brain inflammation, reports a new study conducted by the City of Hope.

The researchers say the findings are the first to suggest that a molecule of the envelope of a bacterium called Bacteroides fragilis (B. fragilis) could be useful against viral inflammatory diseases. Called capsular polysaccharide A (PSA), the envelope molecule appears to promote protective and anti-inflammatory responses during a viral infection, according to the study published in ‘Nature Communications’.

“This study with mice shows that B. fragilis PSA can temper the immune system so that infection does not result in an uncontrolled and potentially fatal inflammatory response in the brain,” the authors said. “Although herpes simplex encephalitis is a rare disorder of brain inflammation, the lessons we learned here could, with more research, be applicable to other viral infections such as other herpesviruses, influenza viruses, West Nile virus and perhaps even diseases respiratory diseases, conditions in which inflammation occurs “.

Read more: Eurekalert