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Bacteria that break down nicotine found in the guts of mice

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A team of researchers from multiple institutions in China, working with colleagues in the United States, isolated a type of bacterium in the gut of mice that breaks down nicotine. Naturethe group explains how they isolated the bacteria and why their findings could reduce the incidence of fatty liver disease in humans.

Previous research has shown that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. In addition to the association with lung diseasecigarette smoking is also associated fatty liver diseaseIn this new effort, researchers discovered that certain types of bacteria decompose nicotine in the gut of mice (via forced smoking), thereby reducing the chances of developing fat liver disease.

When a person (or mouse) smokes tobaccosome of the nicotine enters the intestine, increasing the risk of fatty liver disease associated with scarring and, in some cases, liver cancer.

In this new study, researchers measured the amount of nicotine reaching the intestine by comparing stool samples from 30 smokers and 30 nonsmokers. They then did the same in mice and found similar results.

We then sterilized the intestines of several laboratory mice and performed the nicotine experiment again. They found that mice with sterilized intestines had more nicotine in their systems, indicating that at least one type of gut bacteria was breaking down nicotine. The process of elimination then allowed us to pinpoint the bacteria responsible for the breakdown (Bacteroides xylanisolvens), which produced a type of enzyme that breaks down nicotine.

Previous studies have shown that B xylanisolven is also present in the human gut. The researchers will next study it and the enzymes it produces to see if the enzymes can be produced commercially and given to smokers to reduce their chances of developing fatty liver disease and, in turn, liver cancer. I am planning to

For more information:
Bo Chen et al., Gut bacteria reduce smoking-related NASH by degrading intestinal nicotine. Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05299-4

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Quote: Nicotine-Degrading Bacteria Found in Mouse Guts (November 24, 2022)

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