Kumi Nagamoto-Combs presents “What’s bug got to do with it?” Nov. 22

The UND Department of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) Host-Pathogen Interactions CoBRE Group present their next Faculty Candidate Seminar today, Friday, Nov. 22. At 1 p.m. in SMHS Room W203, Kumi Nagamoto-Combs, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UND Department of Pathology and director of the Behavior Research Core, will present “What’s bug got to do with it?,” a lecture on the effect of allergens on behavior and mood.

Historically, clinical observations and studies have reported that hypersensitivity to food allergy and other atopic diseases are associated with behavior and mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and autism. Although the precise mechanism of pathogenesis is yet to be defined, recent findings have indicated that intestinal dysbiosis is present in patients with allergic and behavior/mood disorder, suggesting a potential involvement of gut bacteria in these conditions. Based on these observations, we postulate that food allergy-induced immune responses result in microbiota shifts and inflammation that can affect brain function and behavior. We have been investigating this possibility using a mouse model of cow’s milk allergy, in which healthy mice are sensitized to a major milk allergen, beta-lactoglobulin (BLG). Using this model, we have previously reported that BLG-sensitized mice exhibit behavioral changes associated with immune responses, intestinal damage, and neuroinflammation. Importantly, our recent fecal microbiome analysis also showed significant dysbiosis in BLG-sensitized mice. We are currently investigating the roles of specific bacterial species and variations in host’s immune responses in the development of molecular and cellular pathology in the intestine and the brain.

Everyone is welcome to attend.