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The effect of selenium on the gut microbiota and intestinal mucosa

Takopoulou-Mavrona, Ilektra (2019) The effect of selenium on the gut microbiota and intestinal mucosa. Research Project 1, Biomedical Sciences.


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The ensemble of microorganisms that inhabits the human gut, known as the microbiota, contributes significantly to health and disease. A disbalanced microbiota has been extensively linked with gut inflammation. Mucositis, a severe toxicity caused by chemotherapy for which there are limited therapeutic strategies, is characterized by gut inflammation and an alteration in the composition of microbiota. Potential therapeutic interventions through modulation of gut microbiota are examined in order to treat mucositis. Selenium is a trace element that has been shown to modulate gut microbiota composition and ameliorate intestinal mucositis. In this study, the effect of selenium on the growth of different gut bacteria and on intestinal mucosa were tested. Our results showed that under strictly anaerobic conditions selenium had no effect on the growth of F. prausnitzii, B. longum and E. coli and that it was toxic for B. luti and B. thetaiotaomicron. Under oxidative stress, selenium decreased the growth of E.coli and B.thetaiotaomicron but had no effect on the growth of F.prausnitzii, B.longum and B.luti. However, under semi/anaerobic conditions selenium was able to promote the growth of F.prausnitzii, B.longum, B.luti and E.coli. Moreover, selenium was able to prevent 5-FU cytotoxicity in T84 human colonic epithelial cells but had no proliferative effect. These results indicate that selenium can decrease potential pathogens under oxidative stress and can promote the growth of gut bacteria in conditions that mimic most successfully a healthy gut environment (semi/anaerobic). This preliminary study suggest that selenium might be an effective tool for treating mucositis but further animal and human studies must be conducted.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 1)
Supervisor name: Harmsen, H.J.M.
Degree programme: Biomedical Sciences
Thesis type: Research Project 1
Language: English
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2019 09:00

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