Bacteria that Causes Food Poisoning May be Linked to Crohn's Disease

Study finds that a food-poisoning bacteria increases the growth of gut bacteria linked to Crohn’s disease.

A food-poisoning bacteria that causes acute infectious gastroenteritis speeds up the growth of the gut bacterium adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC), which has been linked to the development of Crohn’s disease.

The findings were published in PLOS Pathogens. Crohn’s disease is a bowel illness that is characterized by inflammation in the intestines.

“This is a lifelong disease that often strikes people in their early years, leading to decades of suffering, an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and an increased risk of premature death,” said senior study author Brian Coombes.

For the study, researchers used a mouse model of Crohn’s disease to make their discovery. They found that even when the food-poisoning bacteria was eliminated in the mice, increased levels of AIEC in the gut were still observed, leading to the worsening of symptoms over a long period of time.

The study authors noted that the findings indicate the need for the development of new diagnostic tools to help identify AIEC-colonized individuals who may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, following acute infectious gastroenteritis.

“We need to understand the root origins of this disease — and to use this information to invigorate a new pipeline of treatments and preventions,” Coombes said. “It has never been more pressing.”