Can a Healthy Gut Microbiome Suppress Autoimmune Diseases?

Posted by: | October 5, 2017 | Comments

A healthy gut microbiome can prevent certain diseases and a recent study determines the effectiveness of administering a certain strain of gut bacteria in suppressing autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.


There is a clear increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in the developed world. Some scientists attribute this change to our modern diet, which can influence our gut microbiome. The human gut harbors over a trillion microorganisms, which is known as the microbiome. The gut microbiome has many functions, ranging from preventing infections to metabolizing nutrients. Its makeup varies among individuals and can be influenced by external factors. Interestingly, changes to the gut microbiome can damage health, in part by contributing to various inflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is believed to be caused by immune system cells that target certain parts of nerves, effectively impairing the nervous system. MS is more prevalent in developed nations and some studies have suggested that environmental factors, such as diet, play a prominent role in causing MS. One particular strain of normal gut bacteria, Prevotella histicola, which is more common in those who have an agrarian diet (filled with carbs and fibers), has recently been found to be able to prevent the development of a MS-like disease in an animal model. This novel study, published in Cell Reports, demonstrates the ability of P. histicola, as gut bacteria, to modulate the immune system and suppress the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which models MS, in mice.

Read More: Medical News Bulletin

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