A messy birth makes for babies with better digestion

Bacterial molecules encountered at natural birth could be important for a healthy intestine. A messy birth could be good for the baby's digestion, according to researchers in Germany, who have found evidence that baby mice squeezing through the birth canal swallow bacterial molecules that help their gut grow healthily. The finding suggests that kids born by caesarean might miss out. Swarms of friendly bacteria normally live in our guts, and cells lining the intestinal tubes do not attack them. The research team extracted intestinal cells from mice embryos before birth and exposed them to a component of bacteria. The embryonic cells reacted and produced inflammatory molecules. But the same gut cells from one-day-old newborn mice or adult mice did not. The researchers think that bacterial scraps naturally slopping around in the birth canal and mother's faeces are swallowed by the baby mice as they make their entry into the world. These molecules pass down into the gut, where they stimulate the gut cells and teaches the cells to tolerate friendly bugs in the future. - (ANI)

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