- Category: Science & Technology
Researchers from the University of Chicago have shown that microbiota -- the bacteria, viruses and other microbes living on the skin and in the digestive system -- play an important role in the body's ability to accept transplanted skin and other organs.
In a June 20 study, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team demonstrated that skin grafts between mice treated with antibiotics prior to transplantation survive roughly twice as long as mice that didn't receive the medications. Grafts between mice raised in a sterile, germ-free environment also survived longer. Meanwhile, the team found that if germ-free mice were dosed with microbes from conventional, untreated mice, they rejected the skin grafts more quickly. But if they were dosed with the microbes that survived the antibiotic treatment of conventional mice, they retained the skin grafts similarly to sterile mice. This suggests the composition of the microbiota influences the fate of the graft.