give you some details on what is currently happening with the
At the moment we are focussing on the culturing of
gut commensal microbes representative of the major phyla
(bacterial classes) found within the average healthy person.
Due to the unique microenvironment within the gut, culturing
some of these microbes in the lab can be challenging, thus
the majority of strains we are working with are under strict
anaerobic conditions, without oxygen.
for our research looking for the presence of a leaky gut in
ME/CFS, will be developing and testing a suitable microbe
array slide to assay patient antibody activity.
If you were
to imagine a microscope slide, the array slide is just the
same but with spots containing bacterial cells printing onto
Patient serum can then be tested against the
slide containing the different spots of bacteria.
that increased exposure to gut microbes (leaky gut) will initiate
microbe-driven inflammatory reactions in ME/CFS patients, we
hope to be able to detect increases in serum antibodies
towards specific commensal bacteria present on the slide.
This approach may help us to identify specific bacterial
species capable of traversing the gut barrier and initiating
systemic inflammatory events.
Future additions of other
bacterial strains, and yeasts to the slide will increase our
capacity to detect antibodies in patient blood and may serve
as a useful diagnostic indicator for leaky gut syndrome in
Moreover, Navena a fourth year
medical student soon to begin her MRes [this
is one of the MRes positions being funded by Invest in ME],
will be attempting to detect an antibody against a gut
commensal found in the microbiota that also has the
ability to cross-react with proteins found in nerves.
aim here is to determine if alterations in intestinal
barrier function and/or microbiota firstly, exists in
ME/CFS patients and secondly, whether there is an
interaction between microbe-driven inflammatory responses
and neuronal proteins.