Research Shows Gut Microbes Important in Healing Injuries and Supporting Immune System 

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According to Harvard Medical researchers, the human gut supports the immune system. This is particularly important, considering that approximately 70% of the immune system is in the gut. 

Gut microbiota responsible for muscle healing 

Researchers have found that gut microbes fuel the healing process of muscle injuries by activating regulatory T cells (Tregs). These specialized white blood cells protect the body against infections and respond to stressors at injury sites to promote healing.

Senior study author and immunology professor at the Blavatnik Institute at Havard Medical School Diane Mathis said that based on their findings, the gut microbiota stimulates the generation of a specific type of regulatory T cells. These T cells regularly migrate out of the gut and function as surveillance agents, detecting and responding to injuries in other body areas by initiating reparative processes.

The authors explain that Tregs are specialized cells performing distinct bodily functions. For instance, they are important in maintaining gut health by safeguarding against autoimmune diseases such as colitis, food allergens, and colorectal cancer. In addition, it is well-known that microbes in the gut are heavily involved in gut immunity through Treg production. However, there is little evidence of Treg activity in tissues outside the gut.

Researchers found cells similar to Tregs in muscles 

Therefore, the team was surprised to discover cells with comparable structures in the muscles.

Immunology research fellow at Havard Medical School Bola Hanna said they found some cells that seemed similar to Tregs derived from the gut. Hanna explained that this caught their attention since gut microbiota shapes the cells produced in the gut. 

Researchers analyzed the molecular structure of the cells using animal models and confirmed their identity. They tagged the cells with light and tracked them in the mice’s bodies. Tregs left the gut and moved around the body. Researchers found immune cells in muscles similar to Tregs in the gut. 

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