Desulfovibrio is a genus of gram-negative sulphate-reducing bacteria. This genus has been positively correlated to IBD, colorectal cancer (in animal model), ulcerative colitis, liver disease and autism.
Desulfovibrio spp. is predominant member of Sulfate-reducing bacteria in human gut microbiota. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are anaerobic microorganisms that conduct dissimilatory sulfate reduction to obtain energy, resulting in the release of a great quantity of sulfide. They are commonly isolated from environmental sources, but are also present in the digestive tract of animals and humans.
Different species of Desulfovibrio: Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, Desulfovibrio piger, Desulfovibrio fairfieldensis Desulfovibrio legallii
The bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a metabolite which can influence cell signaling and reduce oxidative stress at low concentrations and pose toxicity at higher concentrations.
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is manifested through impaired social communication and repetitive behaviour, often with associated immune dysregulation and gastrointestinal disorders. Dysbiotic gut microbial profiles have been associated with ASD. Researchers have found higher abundance of Clostridia, Lactobacilli and Desulfovibrio species and decreased abundance of Bifidobacteria, Prevotella, Coprococcus and Veillonella species in subjects affected with ASD.
Ulcerative colitis (UC)
The presence of Desulfovibrio subspecies is increased in ulcerative colitis and the data presented suggest that these bacteria represent an increased percentage of the colonic microbiome in acute ulcerative colitis.
Desulfovibrio positivity was significantly increased in acute and chronic ulcerative colitis at multiple levels within the colon, and after normalization with total bacterial signal, the relative Desulfovibrio load was increased in acute colitis compared with controls. Desulfovibrio counts did not significantly correlate with age, disease duration, or disease activity but interlevel correlations were found in adjacent colonic segments in the healthy control and chronic ulcerative colitis groups.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Desulfovibrio spp. is associated with several clinical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, but until now there are very few reports describing the isolation of Desulfovibrio spp. from human faecal samples. The implication of SRB in IBD has been suggested as their metabolic end product, hydrogen sulfide, is a cytotoxic compound. This compound may act through an inhibition of butyrate oxidation, the main energy source for colonocytes. The impairment of the functions of the intestinal epithelium would lead to cell death and chronic inflammation. However, the species of SRB associated with IBD have not yet been identified. Their identification would permit to look for virulence factors as well as their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents. The distribution of the species did not differ significantly when comparing healthy individuals and patients with non-inflammatory bowel diseases. D. piger was barely more prevalent than D. fairfieldensis. Conversely, in patients with IBD, D. piger was 4 times more frequent than D. fairfieldensis. This difference was especially noticeable for CD as IBD patients consisted mainly of CD patients. Furthermore, the prevalence of D. piger was significantly higher in patients hospitalized for IBD as compared to healthy individuals or patients hospitalized for other pathologies. There was no relation between the stage of the disease and the presence of SRB.
Parkinson’s disease (PD)
Gram-negative sulfate-reducing bacteria of the genus Desulfovibrio may play a potential role in the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Conventional and quantitative real-time PCR analysis of feces from twenty PD patients and twenty healthy controls revealed that all PD patients harbored Desulfovibrio bacteria in their gut microbiota and these bacteria were present at higher levels in PD patients than in healthy controls. Additionally, the concentration of Desulfovibrio species correlated with the severity of PD. Desulfovibrio bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide and lipopolysaccharide, and several strains synthesize magnetite, all of which likely induce the oligomerization and aggregation of α-synuclein protein. The substances originating from Desulfovibrio bacteria likely take part in pathogenesis of PD.
Type 2 diabetes
In a Chinese cohort, this genus, that includes sulfate-reducing bacteria, has been reported to be increased in T2DM patients.
Possible treatment options
Desulfovibrio abundance was reported to be decreased by 5.0 g of agave inulin/native inulin intake per day for 21 days. Similar findings were reported in obese subjects supplemented with a mixture of galacto-oligosaccharides.
In addition, a study in mice that were fed a diet supplemented with glycomacropeptide, a 64-amino acid glycophosphopeptide, showed that this diet reduced Desulfovibrio bacteria. This reduction was associated with decreased plasma concentrations of the inflammation markers interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Interleukin-1beta, and Interleukin-2.
Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor or medical professional before starting any treatment plan.
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