The rapid increase in the prevalence of diseases caused by the disruption of the intestinal epithelium, also known as leaky gut syndrome, is a global cause for concern. Metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), two disease indications that occur as a result of a compromised intestinal mucosal membrane, collectively effect over 235 million people globally. In a healthy gut, the epithelial lining is tightly aligned to form a structurally robust barrier between the outside and the inside of the body. When this lining is compromised, immunogenic compounds such as bacterial endotoxins can infiltrate the body, causing systemic and local inflammation, resulting in diseases such as MetSyn and IBS. Through our ERC Advanced project FUNMETA, we have identified the ‘postbiotic’ molecule, indole-3-aldehyde (IAld), to be critical in the maintenance and restoration of intestinal epithelial integrity. Preliminary data already indicates the ability of IAld to repair damaged intestinal epithelium and to modulate symptoms of MetSyn and IBS in animal models. As these two indications are not only burdened by high prevalence rates, but also by ineffective or expensive treatments, there is strong potential in the clinical adoption of IAld. Therefore, the main aim of MicroTher is to further assess the clinical and commercial feasibility of IAld as a pharmaceutical agent.
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