Health: the intestinal flora is controlled by the pancreas

New findings: pancreas, controls the diversity of species of intestinal bacteria

It is long known that the bacteria in the gut have a significant impact on whether we stay healthy or become ill. Researchers have now found that the composition of the intestinal bacteria is much more tightly controlled by the function of the pancreas as of all other known factors.

In the intestine, about 38 trillion bacteria live

According to experts, living in the human gut 38 trillion bacteria, and these have a great effect on our health. A healthy intestinal flora makes an important contribution to the protection against infections, allergies and various diseases. Some intestinal bacteria can also promote Obesity and the risk for heart attacks and strokes affect. Researchers from the University of Greifswald medical school have now discovered that the composition of the intestinal bacteria is much more tightly controlled by the function of the pancreas as of all other known factors.

Intestinal bacteria are decisive, whether we stay healthy or become ill. Scientists have now discovered that the composition of the bacteria is controlled in the gut much more of the function of the pancreas as of all other known factors. (Image: Alex/

Control of the species diversity of the intestinal bacteria

“What has us very surprised by the strength of the effect is,” said the Director of the Internal clinic at the Unimedizin Greifswald, Prof. Markus M. Lerch in a message.

“The pancreas controls the species diversity of the bacteria in the gut is much more profound than any previously known host factors such as age, gender, the type of diet or, for example, the ingestion of the stomach acid blockers.”

The results of the old man Walder working group were recently published in the journal “Gastroenterology”.

More bacteria than body cells

As the experts explain, the human body is only made up of billions of specialized cells, in it a countless number of microorganisms living together with us, usually peacefully and usefully.

Alone in the gut of about 38 trillion bacteria, thus, clearly more than all our body cells together.

Since bacteria are much smaller than human body cells, these bacteria together to have a weight of only two kilograms.

Already in the twenties of the last century, the Bay of Greifswald, internal medicine Victor van der Reis (1889-1957) pioneering work in the study of bacteria in all intestinal has done sections.

Before the turn of the microbiologist Prof. Hannelore Bernhardt has studied even the intestinal organisms of cosmonauts. For this purpose, microorganisms on Petri shells have been bred in Incubators.

However, it is now known that more than 95 percent of the gut bacteria proliferate at all when exposed to the air, but only in the gut to grow.

Diversity in the gut is good for your health

Due to the rapid technical development in investigations of the genetic material of bacteria in the last years can be now identified all in the gut-living microorganisms.

As well-known knowledge today that there are nearly 40,000 different bacteria species are found here. How these are put together in type and amount, has a major influence on our health and is not only for intestinal infections the cause of diseases.

A particularly species-rich intestinal microbiome, the totality of microorganisms has a beneficial effect on health and many diseases go hand in hand with a decrease in the diversity or variety of species of bacteria in the gut.

Conversely, there are also bacteria compositions, for a connection with various diseases has been established, ranging from Diabetes and fatty liver disease to Depression and Alzheimer’s dementia.

In the case of diseases such as antibiotic-induced diarrhea (Clostridium difficile Colitis) is the replacement of the entire colon multiple used therapeutically and may lead to healing.

The composition of the gut multiple

But what is the composition of the Multiple determined in the intestine? On the one hand, the mixture of the species of bacteria of the people is hereditary and can almost be used as a personal fingerprint.

On the other hand, a two-week abroad, already stay in Vietnam or Mexico, due to the different type of diet to strong Changes of the Multiple, which constitute, however, after the return to the familiar surroundings quickly.

Other known factors influencing the composition of the Multiple are the preference of the food, such as animal protein or vegan diet, tobacco Smoking, alcohol consumption or certain medications.

Connection between gut bacteria and digestive to better understand

A to diseases of the pancreas (pancreatic) specialist working group of the University of Greifswald medical school investigated whether and how this institution influenced the Microbiome.

For this purpose, the Greifswalder health study SHIP were analysed at 1,800 subjects, the composition of the chair multiple new by means of sequencing of bacterial genetic material (16S rRNA).

In addition to many other factors, the researchers measured the concentration of Elastase, a digestive enzyme of the pancreas, in the chair, as well as the stimulated secretion of pancreatic juice in the small intestine by means of nuclear spin tomography.

According to the figures, a decreased concentration of the Elastase with strong changes in the composition and species diversity of the Multiple.

So, an increase in the more harmful Prevotella bacteria and a decrease in the health-promoting Bacteroides species were found.

The influence of the volume of the pancreatic juice on the diversity of the bacteria strains was significantly lower than the concentration of the digestive enzyme Elastase.

“Whether this effect is caused by peptide-antibiotics produced by the pancreas itself, or by a Change in the digestive function, is still unknown,” says the First author of the work, Dr. Fabian Frost and Dr. Tim Kacprowski.

“In any case, this discovery means a real progress in the understanding of the link between digestion and the intestinal microbiome,” said Dr. Georg Homuth from the functional genome research. (ad)