Previous research has found that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may have a specific microbial signature in their gut microbiota that could impact disease pathogenesis. However, it is not known to what extent structural and functional changes in the gut microbiota are primary contributors to MS pathogenesis and which underlying mechanisms are involved.
A new study, led by Dr. Sergio Baranzini from the Department of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco (USA), has found that specific gut bacteria from multiple sclerosis patients regulate immune responses and exacerbate MS-like symptoms in mice.
The researchers used 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene sequencing of stool samples from 71 untreated relapsing-remitting MS patients and 71 healthy controls.
Although they did not find shifts in the gut microbiota structure, specific bacterial taxa were significantly associated with MS. Both Akkermansia muciniphila and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus were increased in MS patients. Although the role of A. muciniphila has been extensively studied in the context of metabolism, little is known about its role in regulating immune responses and these results are in agreement with previous research supporting A. muciniphila as a bacterial species that exacerbates inflammation during infection. In contrast, MS patients exhibited decreased levels of Parabacteroides distasonis.
Read More: Gut Microbiota for Health