These findings add to existing evidence supporting the link between gut microbiota and MS, and highlight the need to consider potential combined effects of these microorganisms.
Future studies are needed to confirm these findings in MS patients, and possibly develop ways of treating this autoimmune disease by targeting intestinal microbiota.
The study, “Gut microorganisms act together to exacerbate inflammation in spinal cords,” was published in the journal Nature.
Gut microbiota — a vast community of friendly bacteria, fungi, and viruses that colonize the gastrointestinal tract — help to maintain a balanced gut function, protect against disease-causing organisms, and influence the host’s immune system and inflammatory responses.
However, how gut microorganisms promote inflammation and immune attacks against myelin — the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and is wrongly targeted in MS — in the central nervous system (CNS; the brain and spinal cord) remains unclear.
A team of researchers at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS), in Japan, shed light on these mechanisms and the identity of the potential players in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS.
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