A web-blog (formerly known as Stu's Views and MS News), now published by MS Views and News, a patient advocacy organization. The information on this blog helps to Empower those affected by Multiple Sclerosis globally, with education, information, news and community resources.
~~ Scroll left side of this blog for needed resources. Also, use our 'search by topic' tool, to find specific information.
Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Does Gut Bacteria Contribute to Multiple Sclerosis?
Editor's Note: While onsite at the Joint 2014 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis/European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS) conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Medscape spoke with Sushrut Jangi, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, about the possible link between our gastrointestinal microbiome and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Medscape: Your study looked at the potential relationship between gastrointestinal flora and MS. What were the objectives of your study?
Dr Jangi: In many autoimmune diseases there has been a lot of recent interest in trying to determine how what we eat, how the kind of bacteria that live in our gut, might influence the immune system. Eighty percent of the immune system is in the gut and is probably shaped by what grows in the gut. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, we've seen that the gut microbiome probably makes a difference and alters the expression of those diseases.
We've also seen that when the gut flora in mice are changed, it affects whether they acquire the MS-like disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). EAE is similar to MS in that when you give certain immunogenic compounds to mice, they develop a disease that looks very similar to MS. They get demyelination and disrupted nerve conduction, leading to deficits similar to those seen in MS. This model has allowed us to investigate how the pathogenesis of MS works.
So, given the work in mice with EAE and the fact that there was no study looking at this relationship in humans, we wanted to determine what the constituents of the gut microbiome are in MS patients compared with non-MS patients. We studied 105 patients and recently expanded our cohort to 250.
Medscape: And was there a difference?
Dr Jangi: The preliminary data show that there are at least a couple of different genera of bacteria that are different in the gut of MS patients compared with healthy controls. We found that a bug calledMethanobrevibacteriaceae is enriched in the gut of MS patients and seems to have immunoproliferative properties that drive inflammation. We also found that the population of Butyricimonas bacteria is low in MS patients compared with healthy controls. This is an interesting result because these bacteria produce butyrate, which is thought to be immunosuppressive, but we do need to repeat this study in a larger cohort.
So it seems that our work initially supports the idea that the gut in MS patients contains bugs that drive inflammation and are low in the types of bacteria that control inflammation. This is consistent with work in rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Medscape: Would you go so far as to say that gut flora might actually cause MS?