Microbes in gut could be protective against hazardous radiation exposure

A recent study suggested that bacteria in the gut can protect from the exposure of hazardous radiation.A new study by scientists at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and colleagues was published today in Science. The study showed that mice exposed to potentially lethal levels of total body radiation were protected from radiation damage if they had specific types of bacteria in their gut.Radiation absorbed in a clinical setting or during an accidental exposure can causedamage to tissues.The researchers noted that only an 'elite' set of mice had a high abundance of two typesof bacteria, Lachnospiraceae and Enterococcaceae, in their guts that strongly countered the effects of the intense radiation. Importantly for humans, these two types of bacteria were found to be abundant in leukaemia patients with mild GI symptoms who underwent radiotherapy.