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Food Poisoning Could Increase Risk of Developing Crohn's Disease

Oct 19, 2016
Food Poisoning Can Cause Crohn's Disease

Food Poisoning Can Affect People Risk For Crohn's Disease

A team of Canadian researchers has released new findings that show that a bout of food poisoning can have long-term effects for people at risk for Crohn's disease.

Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that exposure to food-borne pathogens that cause acute infectious gastroenteritis-food poisoning-may "accelerate" the growth of a bacterium that has been linked to Crohn's disease, a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease.'

The study was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens earlier this month.

The researchers exposed mice already "colonized" with adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) that has been associated with Crohn's to Salmonella Typhimurium or Citrobacter rodentium, two bacteria that cause gastrointestinal disease.

The study's senior author, McMaster University professor Dr. Brian Coombes, told CTV News that the results of the study indicated that the food-borne disease could "create an environment" in the gut in which the bacteria associated with Crohn's can grow. This can lead to the onset of Crohn's even years after a person has recovered from food poisoning.

How Microbes Affect Crohn's

Dr. Coombes and his team at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research have been studying how microbes affect Crohn's, but he says what actually causes Crohn's disease is still a mystery. "The pathway to get to Crohn's is really an enigma," Coombes said. "There are lots of risk factors that I would say are very well-known in the literature." Dr. Coombes says microbes are the "key driver" of Crohn's disease.

Aida Fernandes, vice-president of Research and Patient Programs at Crohn's and Colitis Canada, says relatively recent research into Crohn's has indicated that a combination of genetics, environment, and microbiology can influence a person's risk for developing the disease, CTV News reports. "We know it's not just a single factor. You don't just inherit this disease," Fernandes said. "There is a genetic component, but understanding what your susceptibilities are, that somehow a combination of your genes, the environment in which you live, the microbes that live in your gut, all seem to kind of have an interaction and certainly at the end of the day play a role" in possibly leading to the development of Crohn's.

Coombes said there are "trillions and trillions of bacteria in our gut" and researchers must find out which ones are the "real bad guys that are causing this kind of Crohn's associated inflammation." Coombes and his colleagues think AIEC is "one of the bad guys," according to CTV News According to Dr. Coombes, the research team was inspired by a previous study. The "really striking finding [of that study] is that if you've been exposed to food poisoning even once, your risk of developing Crohn's disease within the next 15-year period is significantly higher than if you were not exposed to food-poisoning."

Coombes' research team hopes their findings will prompt other to development of treatments to intervene after a bout of food poisoning. Researchers could try to find a way to identify individuals who harbor AIECs because they "might greater risk later on," Dr. Coombes said.

Need Legal Help Regarding Risk of Developing Crohn's Disease?

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