Human Gut Microbes May Help Suppress MS, New Research Suggests

Human Gut Microbes May Help Suppress MS, New Research Suggests

A bacteria present in the gut, called Prevotella histicola, prevented multiple sclerosis (MS) from developing in a preclinical mouse model, found researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, along with colleagues at the University of Iowa.

Their study, “Human Gut-Derived Commensal Bacteria Suppress CNS Inflammatory and Demyelinating Disease,” appeared in the journal Cell Reports.

Current research suggests that alterations to the gut microbiome residing in human intestines may potentially trigger inflammatory diseases such as MS. In an attempt to identify which gut resident bacteria are capable of modulating immune responses, researchers studied cultured small pieces of intestine tissue extracted from biopsies of patients with celiac disease.

The team then isolated three bacteria strains and found that one of species — P. histicola — had the capacity to suppress MS in a preclinical animal model of the disease.

“This is an early discovery but an avenue that bears further study,” Dr. Joseph Murray, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and the study’s lead author, said in a press release. “If we can use the microbes already in the human body to treat human disease beyond the gut itself, we may be onto a new era of medicine. We are talking about bugs as drugs.”

By investigating how P. histicola modulated immune responses to suppress MS, researchers found that bacteria decreased the expression of two pro-inflammatory cytokines – interferon-gamma and interleukin (IL)-17. Overall results show that P. histicola has immune modulatory activity and can suppress abnormal immune responses, which ultimately prevent autoimmunity. This supports the idea that maintaining a healthy microbial community within our intestines is a potential therapeutic strategy for MS.

“Our work is a classic example of a bedside-to-bench and potentially back to bedside study. Recent MS microbiome studies have shown the lack of Prevotella genus in patients with the disease and an increase when patients were treated with disease-modifying drugs,” said Ashutosh Mangalam, the study’s first author and an assistant professor of pathology at University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. “And it’s not just for MS, because this may have a similar modulating effect on other nervous system and autoimmune diseases.”




  1. LuAnn Sullivan says:

    I wish more research would be done into the relationship that diet has on auto immune diseases. This article is the first one that I have seen on this news letter that addresses the gut as a potential source of sparking an auto immune response. I have been on a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, peanut and legume free diet for nine months. I stopped MS medication at the time that I started this diet (Aubagio). I feel better on this diet than I ever did while on MS medications. I feel more alive, more alert, stronger. No side effects like MS medications cause. I will have an MRI next month and hopefully it will not show any new lesions.

    • Janet says:

      LuAnn, I understand gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free, but not peanut- and legume-free. Can you direct me to information on that?

      • R says:

        Please read the MS Recovery Diet by Ann Boroch, ND. It is a wealth of information. She put her MS into remission for 24 years through diet. She explains the Legume/lectins inflammatory process very well.

      • Shannon Nichols says:

        Hi! I’m on a similar diet and have MS. I’m not taking any DMTs either. I suggest the Wahls Protocol Facebook page or the “overcoming ms naturally page” or lastly, the MS Hope website. They all support similar diets. The are all a little different but the common thread is no gluten, no dairy, no processed foods – lots of veggies and little or no meat. These diets repair the gut and give you energy and naturally repair mylin.

    • Sharon says:

      Agree with you totally. I am hoping this is a serious break through for all chronic immune diseases. I also have been following a GSDF Diet for over 2 years now, still not pain free,unfortunately. I have had 4 separate events of lesions “recurrent demylenating spinal cord disease.” In my case stemming from misdiagnosis of Tickborn Infections. 2+years & 30 doctors before I found out the tick that was attached to back of my knee was indeed the source of my demise.
      Yet, I was denied, insulted, manipulated, traumatized and neglected,abandoned for I was a medical complex mystery. I have had every test known to man, including CSF,testing were all Negative for MS, NMO, ADEM, Sarcoid, Lupus & Lyme supposedly.
      My life maybe hijacked by chronic illness conditions but I will never give up, never!
      I hope this gut bacteria comes to light being successful for all of suffering.

      • Claudia Stockwell says:

        See what microbiome transfer has done for C.diff infections.
        Your microbiome is now considered medicine by the FDA Trying to get to healthy, tested gut microbiome before companies/FDA strip out what they don’t see as useful/marketable.

    • jane says:

      I agree LuAnn, the lack of research into diet in humans is sadly lacking. And I do not want the study of diet in animals to waste time in finding answers. There are plenty of people doing our own thing, trying to find best diet to minimise MS symptoms. From day one when suspected I started on quality raw organic ev olive oil in good amounts 2 tbs per day and later adder equal 1 tbs raw organic ev coconut oil per day. I also eat pure vegan diet mostly organic, avoid grains and legumes, and eat mostly raw. My only supplement: 600iu vegan vit D3. I am doing ok too 🙂

  2. Jeff says:

    This is encouraging that we’re looking at diet to improve our outcomes. But this is a ‘mouse’ study; and mice don’t stop by for a burger on the way home.

    All microbioms are different, depending on where we live, our life styles, diets, local water, etc. How many of us have tried at least one miracle diet only to slide off them because nothing changed?

    The Whals diet has garnered so much attention, but no one I know has shown any improvement, even those that claim they can stay on it. Who can stay on it anyway, it’s awful!

    I follow the basic Mediterranean diet, little meat, no junk food, no sugar, lots of veggies, etc. And I’m doing the best I’ve ever done!

    My view is if you don’t feed your microbiome what it doesn’t need then everyone does better, probably even mice!

  3. Ann says:

    Looking at all the various diets, there are common threads. The biggest is to cut out processed foods including flours, sugars, spreads, etc. Personally, I removed red meat, dairy and eggs from my diet as well as processed foods with positive outcomes. However, I still have MS and flares and relapses occur.

  4. nancy ungar says:

    i have ppms, stage 8. a few years ago i had c. diff. which then became c. diff. septicemia. fecal transplants were then being studied for ms but fecal transplants were only approved for patients who had had c. diff. 3 times. they refused to give it to me off-label. might it have helped with the ppms? are you planning on studying it for ms?

  5. Clare says:

    As infection seems to weaken all autoimmune based illness, a raw diet as stated, is where we all should be headed. Great information and help in easing off medications with side effects.

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