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GI highlights from the literature
  1. Mairi H McLean, Education editor
  1. School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mairi H McLean; m.h.mclean{at}

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Basic science

The role of the microbiota in hypertension: take it with a pinch of salt?

Wilck N, Matus MG, Kearney SM et al. Salt-responsive commensal modulates TH17 axis and disease. Nature 2017;551:585–589.

A high salt diet predisposes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This paper proposes that the microbiome and immune system bring about these effects of a high salt diet. High salt intake induces proinflammatory Th17 cells, which have been linked to hypertension and autoimmune disease. To find a link between salt intake and microbiota, mice were fed a high-salt diet made up of 4% salt, as compared with a normal-salt diet of 0.5% salt. After 2 weeks, faecal pellets were sequenced to reveal microbiota populations. There were clear differences between the two groups, but the most marked change was a reduction in Lactobacillus murinus in the high-salt group. L. murinus was cultured in the lab and growth was salt sensitive. It is known that a high salt diet exacerbates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Daily gavage of L. murinus ameliorated salt-induced EAE. Likewise, a 3-week high salt diet caused hypertension in mice, but L. murinus treatment ameliorated salt-sensitive hypertension and reduced Th17 cells. In a small human trial, 12 volunteers were given double their usual salt intake with 6 g of extra salt for a fortnight. Participants’ blood pressure increased, there was reduced survival of Lactobacillus species and a significant increase in Th17 cells. Interestingly, Lactobacillus is less abundant in microbiomes in the West and may be related to higher salt intake from an early age. Manipulating the microbiota, for example, with probiotics could be a therapy in salt-sensitive conditions.

Hepatic expression of the deubiqitination enzyme cylindromatosis inhibits NASH

Ji Y-X, Huang Z, Yang X, et al. The deubiquitinating enzyme cylindromatosis mitigates nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Nat Med 2018 Jan 1. doi: 10.1038/nm.4461. [Epub ahead of print].

Cellular ubiquitination controls the activation and degradation of intracellular proteins. Ubiquitination has been suggested …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.