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Science

The fluorescent imaging technique to study tongue microbes

Madrid / A new fluorescent imaging technique allows researchers to create high-resolution maps of the microbial communities that form in the human tongue, images that demonstrate that the microbiome of our mouth has a very complex and highly structured organizational level.

The study, led by Gary Borisy, of Harvard University School of Medicine (Massachusetts, United States), was published in the journal Cell Reports.

The human oral microbiome is a complex ecosystem and its microbial communities are affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, saliva, pH, oxygen, and changes such as abrasions or oral hygiene.

Until now, however, the microbial organization has been little studied, so “finding out who’s next to who will help us understand how these communities work,” says Jessica Mark Welch of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts.

“The tongue is particularly important because it houses a large reserve of microbes and is a traditional reference point in medicine. Precisely for this reason, when we go to the doctor, sticking out our tongue is one of the first things he asks us to do, “says the researcher.

And it is that “the bacteria on the tongue are much more than a random bunch. They are more like an organ of our bodies ”, adds Borisy.

The CLASI-FISH technique

To do the study, the researchers developed the CLASI-FISH technique, which involves labeling a specific type of microorganism with multiple fluorophores, greatly expanding the number of microbes that can be identified and located at one time in one field of view.

“Our study is novel because no one has ever before been able to look at the biofilm of the tongue in a way that distinguishes all the different bacteria, so that we can see how they organize,” says Borisy.

During the study, the researchers used small samples obtained from the languages ​​of 21 healthy participants to get a complete view of the structure of the microbiome.

17 bacterial genera

Thus, they identified 17 abundant bacterial genera on the tongue and that were present in more than 80% of the individuals: free bacteria, bacteria attached to host epithelial cells and bacteria organized in ‘consortia’, complex multilayered structures.

These consortia had the structure of a community, with areas occupied by a single taxon (group of organisms) and that, although they varied in form, used to be tens to hundreds of microns long and had a nucleus of epithelial cells and a well-defined perimeter. definite.

The tongues ​​of all the individuals in the study had consortia made up of three genres: Actinomyces, Rothia and Streptococcus.

Actinomyces frequently appeared near the nucleus, Rothia was often seen in large patches on the outside of the consortium, and Streptococcus formed from a thin crust on the outside of the consortia, as well as veins or patches on the inside.

Conclusion

The study concludes that the microbial communities of the tongue grow according to a pattern: first the bacterial cells adhere to the epithelium of the tongue surface individually or in small groups, then, during the population growth, the different taxa push each other to others and proliferate more rapidly in the microenvironments that are closest to their physiological needs.

Finally, these microorganisms grow differentially and are organized in a patchwork mosaic seen in the largest and most mature structures, the study concludes. (March 25, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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Question 1
En el texto se dice que...
A
se ha desarrollado una nueva técnica que permitirá saber más sobre las bacterias que hay en la lengua humana.
B
se desmiente que el microbioma que hay en la lengua sea complejo después haber sido estudiado utilizando una técnica nueva.
C
un grupo de científicos aún no ha logrado elaborar ningún 'mapa' de las bacterias que hay en la lengua humana.
Question 2
Según el texto...
A
conocer cómo están organizadas las comunidades microbianas ayudará a comprender mejor su función.
B
los científicos descartan que haya una gran presencia de bacterias en la lengua humana.
C
los expertos no tienen aún claro si la temperatura o la humedad pueden afectar de algún modo al microbioma oral.
Question 3
En el texto se dice que...
A
los científicos no creen que las comunidades de microbios se desarrollen siguiendo un patrón.
B
esa nueva técnica permite saber cómo están organizadas las bacterias de la lengua.
C
los expertos aseguran que solo hay una docena de tipos de bacterias en la lengua humana.
Question 4
Leyendo el texto entendemos que...
A
las diferentes comunidades microbianas no están todas en el mismo lugar.
B
todas las comunidades microbianas se hallan solo en el centro de la lengua.
C
los científicos realizaron ese estudio con personas sanas y enfermas.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que...
A
es nueva bacteria podría ayudar a evitar la caries.
B
se desmiente que se pueda utilizar esa bacteria para elaborar algún tipo de vacuna.
C
los expertos aseguran que esa nueva bacteria causa caries.
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