Hani El-Nezami

Gut Health and Food Safety (GHFS)

The GHFS concept spans from evaluating the toxicological safety of foods to the interactions of food, the digestive system and the physiological and immunological status of the host. In that aspect, the gut is an important physical, chemical and immunological barrier to foreign antigens and pathogens. The integrity of this critical barrier is crucial in the maintenance of gut health and protection of underlying tissues. We, at the GHFS, aim to provide fundamental insights into the interactions between food (both beneficial and harmful components including pathogenic bacteria), and the gut and how such interrelationship contributes to disease development and prevention. The GHFS strive to develop novel intervention strategies that will lead to the efficient management of gut related diseases with special focus on liver diseases. These are the current research highlights:

  • Modulation of gut health parameters by probiotics and bioactive components in food. In this theme we are aiming to elucidate and define the effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for modulation of parameters related to gut health following exposure to food components (both harmful and beneficial)
  • Role of gut microbiota in the development and progression of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in germ free and humanized mice exposed to high fat diet. This study investigates manipulation of intestinal microflora linked through long term exposure to western style diet, and the potential use of 3rd generation probiotics and prebiotics in the management of NAFLD.
  • Identification and characterization of novel antimicrobial compounds. In this theme we aim to develop new novel compounds isolated from food and other natural resources and evaluate their antimicrobial potential against common foodborne pathogens.

Group leader: Hani El-Nezami, Professor, Email: hani.el-nezami(at)uef.fi, tel. 0442026854


Key publications:

Influence of functional food components on gut health. Wan MLY, Ling KH, El-Nezami H, Wang MF. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Jan 30:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1433629. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29381385

Nano-sized zinc oxide and silver, but not titanium dioxide, induce innate and adaptive immunity and antiviral response in differentiated THP-1 cells. Poon WL, Alenius H, Ndika J, Fortino V, Kolhinen V, Meščeriakovas A, Wang M, Greco D, Lähde A, Jokiniemi J, Lee JC, El-Nezami H, Karisola P. Nanotoxicology. 2017 Sep;11(7):936-951. doi: 10.1080/17435390.2017.1382600. Epub 2017 Sep 29. PMID: 28958187  

Probiotics-mediated suppression of cancer. So SS, Wan ML, El-Nezami H. Curr Opin Oncol. 2017 Jan;29(1):62-72. Review. PMID: 27792053  

Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate improves epithelial barrier function by inducing the production of antimicrobial peptide pBD-1 and pBD-2 in monolayers of porcine intestinal epithelial IPEC-J2 cells. Wan ML, Ling KH, Wang MF, El-Nezami H. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 May;60(5):1048-58. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500992. PMID: 26991948  

Probiotics modulated gut microbiota suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma growth in mice. Li J, Sung CY, Lee N, Ni Y, Pihlajamäki J, Panagiotou G, El-Nezami H Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Mar 1;113(9):E1306-15. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518189113. PMID: 26884164