DDW: Maltodextrin Found to Enhance Biofilms in Crohn's

Sugar substitute promotes biofilm formation as well as stickier and more adherent biofilms

TUESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Maltodextrin, a polysaccharide found in artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Equal, causes bacteria from the guts of Crohn's disease patients to more easily form biofilms that are stickier and more adherent, according to a study presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 19 to 22 in San Diego.

Using Escherichia coli strains associated with Crohn's disease, Kourtney P. Nickerson and Christine McDonald, Ph.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, assessed biofilm formation on plastic or on intestinal cells after the addition of glucose or maltodextrin.

The researchers found that maltodextrin promoted biofilm formation as well as biofilms that were stickier and thicker. In addition, maltodextrin enhanced bacterial adhesion to intestinal epithelial cells and induced the formation of thin, hair-like projections on the bacterial surface similar to type I pili. In contrast, glucose had no effect.

"Our findings demonstrate that a ubiquitous component of Western diets strongly promotes pathogenic phenotypes in Crohn's disease-associated bacterial strains, suggesting a mechanism by which environmental and bacterial Crohn's disease risk factors cooperate to promote disease," Nickerson and McDonald conclude.

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