Microbes and their metabolites protect from radiation

This study looked at the gut microbiome after 1) high dose radiation in mice and 2) full body radiation in leukaemia patients. Mice that went on to live a normal lifespan, termed ‘elite survivors’, were found to express high levels of specific gut bacteria. SCFAs and tryptophan pathway metabolites were also found to be increased in the ‘elite survivor’ mice. The human subjects who demonstrated statistically fewer adverse gut health effect were also found to have high levels of specific gut bacteria. Findings highlight the pivotal role that the microbiota-metabolite axis plays in generating broad protection against radiation.

Hao Guo et al. Multi-omics analyses of radiation survivors identify radioprotective microbes and metabolites. Science 30 Oct 2020: Vol. 370, Issue 6516. DOI:10.1126/science.aay9097

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