New Nature Genetics publication on how our genes orchestrate the bacterial landscape in our gut

The human gut microbiota is an important determinant for health and disease. But what are the most important factors determining the composition of the gut microbiota? Lifestyle, medication and diet are among the factors known to be important contributors.

In a new study we find that our genes are also one of these key factors. We identify over 40 specific genes that contribute to shaping the gut microbiota. It was somewhat surprising that our genes also seem to be even more important for orchestrating the composition of the gut microbiota than our gender, diet and age combined, all variables that traditionally has been thought to be some of the strongest determinants of gut microbiota composition in healthy people.

One of the most important genes that were identified was the vitamin D receptor gene which is activated by bile acids made by the bacteria in our gut. It also interacts with several “healthy” fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish and seafood.

Overall, this study represents an important milestone in the work of understanding how humans interact with all the billions of bacteria that live in our gut, and lays the foundation for tremendous research opportunities in the future.

To read the article, please see:

The Experimental Liver Research Group publishes study on the intestinal microbiota in mice with biliary disease in the Journal of Hepatology

Mice with liver disease have a gut microflora (microbiota) that differs substantially from normal mice. When these mice, that under normal circumstances spontaneously develops disease in their bile ducts, are raised in an environment devoid of bacteria, the disease in the bile ducts diminishes. Overall this clearly indicates that the bacteria in the gut (the gut microbiota) influences the liver disease in these mice.

To read the article, please see:

The Experimental Liver Research Group publishes study on gut and liver T cells in patients with PSC-IBD in the Journal of Hepatology

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a devastating liver disease strongly associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The cause of PSC is unknown, but it has been suggested that the immune reactions in the gut and the liver are connected. Our data demonstrate for the first time that a proportion of the T cells in the gut and the liver react to similar triggers, and that this proportion is particularly high in patients with PSC and IBD.

To read the article, please see:

PhD defense: Huda Omar Ali

MSc. Huda Omar Ali at the Institute of Clinical Medicine/Department of Blood Diseases/Research Institute of Internal Medicine, will defend her thesis for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD): Molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of oestrogens on tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) in breast cancer cells.

Time and place: 13 October 2016 at 13.15 in Red Auditorium (Laboratory Building 25), Oslo University Hospital- Ullevål, Kirkeveien 166, Oslo.

More information at

Section of Molecular Hepatology publishes prevalence study of PSC in IBD in Gastroenterology

The true prevalence of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has so far not been properly investigated. In a collaboration between the Department of Radiology at Akershus University Hospital, the IBSEN study group and Norwegian PSC Research center, MRI cholangiography screening was performed in IBD patients with longstanding disease as part of the 20-year follow-up of the Inflammatory Bowel disease in South-Eastern Norway (IBSEN) study. The results have now been published in the prestigious journal Gastroenterology (2016 impact factor 18.19) with Aida Lunder from AHUS as first author.

The surprising finding of the study was a prevalence of PSC-like disease in about 8%, almost 4 times the number of patients with clinically acknowledged PSC in this patient cohort. These important results provide a new understanding of the disease process of sclerosing cholangitis in IBD and open new possibilities in the studies of pathogenetic and clinical aspects of the PSC-IBD relationship. 

Group leader, Johannes E.R. Hov is among the six winners of the awards for outstanding research papers


Mette Vesterhus                  Johannes Roksund Hov


We congratulate Mette Vesterhus and Johannes Roksund Hov on the Oslo University Hospital’s prize on outstanding original article they won with:

Enhanced liver fibrosis score predicts transplant-free survival in primary sclerosing cholangitis

(published in Hepatology)

The authors of the article are

Mette Vesterhus, Johannes Roksund Hov, Anders Holm, Erik Schrumpf, Ståle Nygård, Kristin Godang, Ina Marie Andersen, Sigrid Næss, Douglas Thorburn, Francesca Saffioti, Morten Vatn, Odd Helge Gilja, Fridtjof Lund-Johansen, Trygve Syversveen, Knut Brabrand, Albert Parés, Cyriel Y. Ponsioen, Massimo Pinzani, Martti Färkkilä, Bjørn Moum, Thor Ueland, Helge Røsjø, William Rosenberg, Kirsten Muri Boberg, and Tom H. Karlsen

All award winning articles were published in the second half of 2015. The awards are of NOK 50.000,- and are earmarked for further research activities.

To make research a visible part of Oslo University Hospital (OUS)’s activities and to inspire all employees to publish their scientific findings OUS has established this tradition to award the authors of the best publications in every sixth month.


Johannes R. Hov (number three from the left) with the diploma he won together with Mette Vesterhus. 


Excellent Researcher Awards

Oslo University Hospital awarded this year's Excellent Researcher Award to Prof. Pål Aukrust and one of the two Early Career Awards to Dr. Espen Melum.

This year's outstanding scholars in 2016: Pål Aukrust (Excellent Research Award) flanked by Therese Seierstad and Espen Melum (both Early Career Awards). (photo: Børge Einrem, OUS)

Article published in Science Translational Medicine showing that cyclodextrin may reduce atherosclerosis attracts worldwide attention

Halvorsen (left) and Skjelland
Halvorsen (left) and Skjelland

Two OUS researchers - professor Bente Halvorsen from the Research Institute of Internal Medicine, and head physician Mona Skjelland from the Department of Neurology - have together with professor Terje Espevik and post doc Siril Bakke from NTNU participated in a large international research project where they have shown that cyclodextrin may reverse atherosclerosis. The study is run by a German research group led by professor Eicke Latz, and the results were recently published in Science Translational Medicine (journal impact factor 18.54). The research has also received widespread attention from various places, including two highly profiled articles in the major newspaper Wall Street Journal.
(story updated with more links to articles from various news sources, under "More")