The intestinal microbiota, or intestinal flora, has been the subject of much research in recent years, because it would have many repercussions on our physical and mental health. It could influence the risk of contracting several diseases. The latest: endometriosis.
According to a new study published in the journal Cell Death & Discovery (Source 1), an altered intestinal microbiota would play a central role in the progression of endometriosis. As a reminder, this chronic gynecological disease is characterized by the presence of lesions similar to the endometrium (mucous membrane lining the inside of the uterus) outside the uterine cavity: on or in the ovaries and fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, diaphragm…
Previous work had already shown that the intestinal microbiota, this set of microorganisms hosted by our digestive system, was of poor quality in women with endometriosis. It now seems that this “bad” microbiota aggravates the disease.
Here, the researchers created an animal model, in this case mice, whose microbiota had been eliminated using antibiotics. Endometriosis lesions were then created surgically, via the transplantation of uterine fragments into the peritoneum (membrane containing the organs of the abdominal cavity).
After 21 days, the grafted lesions in the “control” mice, endowed with a microbiota, were larger than those of the mice lacking intestinal flora. Which, for scientists, indicates thatan altered microbiota tends to worsen the disease, compared to the absence of microbiota. Clearly, and simplifying a bit, it would be even better not having a microbiota rather than having a bad microbiotaif you have endometriosis.
The microbiota, an avenue for treatment or even a diagnostic tool
Another experiment highlighted the key role of metabolites derived from the microbiota, in other words molecules resulting from the metabolism of intestinal bacteria. Via what they produce, certain intestinal bacteria would thus contribute to the progression of endometriosis, by increasing the proliferation and growth of lesions.
The good news is that we can act on the intestinal microbiotawhether it be by food (consumption of prebiotics and probiotics, varied and balanced meals) or by drugs. It would therefore be possible to reduce the impact of the intestinal microbiota on endometriosis, and therefore to use it as a therapeutic avenue.
“We are currently investigating this possibility.”, said Dr. Ramakrishna Kommagani, co-author of the study, in a press release (Source 2). “We want to determine if changes in the gut microbiome could affect the [manifestations intestinales de l’endométriose] and the possibility of controlling them by modifying the microbiome or via their metabolites”, added the researcher, referring to the intestinal symptoms present in some patients (pain during defecation, chronic abdominal pain, irritable bowel, etc.).
The research team is also studying the possibility of using the composition of the intestinal microbiota as diagnostic toolin this pathology where imaging is often necessary to diagnose it with precision and certainty.
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