Last Updated on August 6, 2020
There is a fascinating study that was undertaken to try and understand if and how beneficial bacteria communicate with the human immune system.
About 50 years ago, they used a 2D electron microscopy technique to discover that beneficial bacteria hang on to the bowel wall. It’s almost like the bacteria have a little grappling hook that can attach themselves, a bit like a mountain climber goes up a mountain.
For many years, scientists did not understand how gut bacteria communicated with the immune system.
In recent years, researchers used a unique tomography technique to look at bacteria in mice. Using this approach, the scientists confirmed that bacteria in the gut of mice have a grappling hook.
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The bacteria attach themselves to the gut wall. The immune system detects the bacteria as being a normal part of the body. The immune system will communicate with tiny little packets of protein that get transferred from the bacteria into the cells of the gut wall, and then into the immune system.
It’s a bit like a docking procedure. It docks a little bit like, I suppose, how it would happen with the International Space Station. Essentially, the bacteria docks and locks onto the gut wall and then signals to the immune system. The bacteria send chemical messages but also receive communications from the internal immune system.
The immune system becomes charged up and ready to attack other kinds of pathogens.
Essentially, science is validating how beneficial bacteria contribute to the health of humans. Science is also clarifying why a healthy, beneficial gut flora is so essential to the human digestive system.