Mouse Study Finds Food Poisoning Microbe Linked to Increased Appetite

A study from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that a bacterial protein known as SIrP can impact the appetites of mice infected with Salmonella strains that contain the protein. Two groups of mice were infected with Salmonella, one of which was infected with bacteria that contained the protein while the other was infected with bacteria that did not. The mice that were infected with the Salmonella bacteria that did not contain SIrP ate approximately 20% less food than the rodents in the other group and were much more likely to die as a result of their infection. The researchers found that the mice infected with Salmonella that produced SIrP continued to eat at a normal rate because the SIrP blocked the signals transmitted from the hypothalamus to the stomach that normally would slow their appetites.

Why would a food poisoning-inducing bacteria Salmonella produce a protein to keep its host eating at a normal rate? Because along with keeping the mice alive, it keeps the bacteria alive and ultimately, allows it to pass to new hosts. When a host stops eating, Salmonella has to move into other parts of its body, which can result in a serious illness that kills the host. Without a place to live, the Salmonella dies as well. But when the host continues to eat, the Salmonella can be excreted and then passed to a new host, allowing it to thrive.

What Does this Mean for Humans?

Studies conducted on mice often bring new knowledge about treating illnesses in humans as well as other animals. By studying how bacteria like Salmonella sustain themselves and protect their hosts to ensure their own survival, we gain a better understanding of how to prevent and treat infections. Typically, humans and other animals exhibit behaviors known as “sickness responses” when they are suffering from infections, such as a reduced appetite, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea, in order to preserve their energy and rid the body of harmful pathogens. This study showed that certain types of bacteria develop ways to circumvent sickness responses in their hosts.

One way this study could eventually aid human patients is that it could lead to manipulations of certain proteins to increase appetites in cancer patients and other individuals suffering from conditions that cause a reduction in appetite.

Work with an Experienced Palatine Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you or your child have suffered from food poisoning as the result of another party’s negligence, consider working with an experienced food poisoning lawyer to pursue monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP is here to determine the right course of action for your case and help you seek the money you deserve. Contact our team today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL
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