By Neuroscience News
Researchers identified an anti-inflammatory fat in the soil-dwelling bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, that could explain its stress-quelling effects and aid the development of a microbe-based “stress vaccine”.
This discovery supports the "old friends" or "farm effect" hypothesis, which suggests beneficial soil and environmental microbes have a role in regulating our immune system and suppressing inappropriate inflammation.
Children raised in rural environments, surrounded by bacteria-rich settings, are found to have more stress-resilient immune systems and potentially lower risk of mental illness.
The novel lipid found in M. vaccae, 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid, is found to bind to a specific receptor in immune cells, inhibiting key pathways driving inflammation.