Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that a natural body process can cause inflammation, increasing the risk of colon cancer and Crohn's disease.
The study, published today in Nature Communications, demonstrated a new link between inflammation and a natural cellular process known as autophagy, an essential process where cells break down and recycle damaged elements to keep the body healthy.
Researchers have discovered that autophagy can lead to inflammation, which increases a person's risk of developing certain diseases of the gut, including colon cancer, Crohn's disease and other gut-related diseases.
The team identified a protein which is regulated by autophagy called Kenny, which contains amino acids that causes it to be broken down by autophagy.
The study was conducted on fruit flies by turning Kenny fluorescent to view it. Researchers were then able to observe that the protein was present in the cell where autophagy occurred.
Researchers identified fruits and vegetables such as pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas that contain natural compounds that can activate autophagy to prevent inflammation and disease of the gut.
"Understanding the molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy and inflammation will help to use interventions to activate the autophagic pathway to prevent inflammation and promote healthy well-being during the life course," Dr. Ioannis Nezis, of the University of Warwick, said in a press release.