For over 2 years, the INRA (Institut national de la recherche agronomique, France) and the University of Bologna have been collaborating to study the gut microbiota of the elderly.

Prof. Patrizia Brigidi, of the University of Bologna, had already identified some bacteria of the ultra-centenarians, including Christensenella. Now, thanks to the collaboration, the in vitro anti-inflammatory properties of the bacterium have been analyzed. In addition, tests and assessments are underway to assess both the effects of Christensenella in IBD, particularly in a mouse model of colitis, and the ability of the bacterium to extend the lifespan of elderly rats.

According to Philippe Langella, Research Director at INRA, Christensenella could become a next generation probiotic capable of establishing an eubiotic gut microbiota in the elderly.

We discussed this topic with Langella during the tenth edition of the Probiotics, prebiotics & new foods meeting in Rome.