Alterations in gut bacteria and bacterial metabolism were found in Japanese people at different stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to healthy controls, a study reports.
The study, “Alterations of the gut ecological and functional microenvironment in different stages of multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
MS is an autoimmune disease shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. Given the increasing trend of MS cases over the past few decades, most notably in countries such as Japan, where genetic risk factors are relatively unchanged, environmental risk factors are thought to play critical roles in this population.
Over the same time, changes from more traditional Japanese diets to modern diets have led to a decreased intake of dietary fiber, which is known to alter the numbers and types of bacteria living in the gut (gut microbiome).
Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that the gut microbiome may be associated with MS development.
However, understanding gut microbiome changes between different forms of MS, such as RRMS and SPMS, has not been explored.
A team led by researchers based at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Japan used genetic analysis to identify gut microbes isolated from fecal samples collected from 46 women and 16 men with RRMS (mean age 39 years) and nine women and six men with SPMS (mean age 43.3 years), and compared the results to a group of 55 healthy control subjects (mean age 40 years).
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