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NIH: Scientists discover a substance effective in fighting bacteria

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Taurine, found in bile acids, helps the intestines to fight bacterial infections.

A team of scientists have found that taurine contained in bile acids helps to kill bacteria in the human body, according to the study revealed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In the course of the research, it was observed that the microbiota (useful microorganisms living in the human gut), which had previously suffered infection and was transmitted to sterile mice, helped prevent klebsiella pneumoniae from contracting.

Experts determined that proteobacteria of the Deltaproteobacteria class participated in the fight against infection, and further studies showed that taurine was the trigger of their activity. 

Taurine is found in bile acids and helps the body to digest fats. Its byproduct in the intestine is hydrogen sulfide. 

Scientists believe that when taurine levels are high, enough hydrogen sulfide is produced, which prevents pathogens from colonizing the intestines. It has been found that one mild infection is enough to prepare the microbiota to withstand a subsequent attack. 

Taurine was injected into mice as an additive to drinking water, and it prepared the microbiota to prevent infection. However, when rodents drank water containing bismuth subsalicylate, a common drug for treating diarrhea and indigestion, the defense against infection was weakened because bismuth suppressed hydrogen sulfide production.


Klebsiella pneumoniae is widely found in the environment, including soil and surface waters. The bacterium can cause a variety of infections, including pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis, etc. and often manifests resistance to antibiotics.


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