Akkermansia muciniphila

Species of bacterium

Akkermansia muciniphila is a species of human intestinal mucin-degrading bacterium, the type species for a new genus, Akkermansia, proposed in 2004 by Muriel Derrien and Willem de Vos.:1474 Extensive research is being undertaken to understand its association with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation.

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Biology and Biochemistry

A. muciniphila is a Gram-negative, strictly anaerobic, non-motile, non-spore-forming, oval-shaped bacterium. Its type strain is MucT (=ATCC BAA-835T =CIP 107961T). A. muciniphila is able to use mucin as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen, is culturable under anaerobic conditions on medium containing gastric mucin, and is able to colonize the gastrointestinal tracts of a number of animal species.

Recently, A. muciniphila strain Urmite became the first (evidently) unculturable bacterial strain to be sequenced in its entirety entirely from a human stool sample.

Human metabolism

A. muciniphila is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects in humans, and studies have shown inverse relationships between A. muciniphila colonization and inflammatory conditions such as appendicitis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In one study, reduced levels of A. muciniphila correlated with increased severity of appendicitis. In a separate study, IBD patients were found to have lower levels A. muciniphila in their intestinal tract than individuals without IBD.

Researchers have discovered that A. muciniphila could be used to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes. The first study was carried out with mice, overfed to contain three times more fat than their lean cousin. The obese mice were then fed the bacteria, which were shown to reduce the fat burden of the mice by half without any change to the mice's diet. This effect was associated with a restoration of a proper gut barrier function, which means the absence of leakage of inflammatory bacterial compounds in the blood. Interestingly, in the same study, the authors found that if the bacteria was killed by very high temperature (autoclaving), the bacteria was unable to improve the metabolic response. A study published in June 2015 showed an association between A. muciniphila abundance, insulin sensitivity, and healthier metabolic status in overweight/obese adults. The... ...read more

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