Food allergies reversed in mice by targeting the microbiome

A press release from the American Chemical Society states:

“A bacterial compound called butyrate that’s made by healthy microbiomes has shown promise against allergic reactions in lab tests, but it’s nasty to take orally. Today, scientists describe a more palatable way to deliver this compound and report that their “polymeric micelles” are effective against peanut allergies in mice. The treatment could someday counteract many types of food allergies and inflammatory diseases.

The researchers will present their results at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS Fall 2022 is a hybrid meeting being held virtually and in-person Aug. 21–25, with on-demand access available Aug. 26-Sept. 9. The meeting features nearly 11,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

Some of the bacteria in the gut microbiome produce metabolites, such as butyrate, that foster the growth of beneficial bacteria and maintain the lining of the gut. If a person’s microbiome is unhealthy and lacks these butyrate-producing bacteria, fragments of partially digested food can leak out of the gut and produce an immune reaction that results in an allergic response.”

“The researchers administered these micelles to the digestive systems of mice lacking either healthy gut bacteria or a properly functioning gut lining. After digestive juices released the butyrate in the lower gut, the inert polymers were eliminated in the feces. The treatment restored the gut’s protective barrier and microbiome, in part by increasing production of peptides that kill off harmful bacteria, which made room for butyrate-producing bacteria.

Most importantly, dosing allergic mice with the micelles prevented a life-threatening anaphylactic response when they were exposed to peanuts. “This type of therapy is not antigen specific,” Cao notes. “So theoretically, it can be broadly applied to any food allergies through the modulation of gut health.”

Next up are trials in larger animals, followed by clinical trials.”

If those trials are successful, there could be other potential uses which could be explored in future trials. The team is also analyzing data on treating inflammatory bowel disease with the oral treatment.

A search through my archives produced some past research on butyrate which could indicate further potential applications as well as potential ways to increase the production of butyrate through diet.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine found in 2017:

“…in a mouse model of ALS, the compound butyrate helped correct a gut microbiome imbalance and reduced gut leakiness – both symptoms of ALS. The treated mice lived also longer compared to mice that weren’t given butyrate.”

Also that year, Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute researchers led an international study that found:

“a diet yielding high amounts of the short-chain fatty acids acetate and butyrate provided a beneficial effect on the immune system and protected against type 1 or juvenile diabetes.”

From their paper:

“Medicinal foods or metabolites might represent an effective and natural approach for countering the numerous immunological defects that contribute to T cell–dependent autoimmune diseases. …

A study from the University of Illinois in 2018 found butyrate and dietary soluble fiber improve neuroinflammation associated with aging in mice:

“high fiber supplementation in aging is a non-invasive strategy to increase butyrate levels, and these data suggest that an increase in butyrate through added soluble fiber such as inulin could counterbalance the age-related microbiota dysbiosis, potentially leading to neurological benefits.”

Another 2018 study from University of Illinois found consuming walnuts increases microbes that produce butyrate.