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Altering the Microbiome May Benefit Lupus Patients

Apr 07, 2016 12:45 pm
Previous research has suggested a potential role for gut dysbiosis and alterations Th17 and regulatory T (Treg), along with IL-17, IL-22, and IL-23, in the pathogenesis of SLE. 

Lopez and colleagues from Spain have studied the gut microbiome of lupus patients and reported that lupus microbiota promoted lymphocyte activation and Th17 differentiation from naïve CD4+ lymphocytes moreso than that seen with healthy control-microbiota. 

The addition of Bifidobacterium bifidum, Ruminococcus obeum and Blautia coccoides strains to the lupus microbiota abrogated these effects.

They also found that the fecal microbiota of normal controls exhibited a negative correlation between IL-17+ populations and Firmicutes species, but in SLE this phylum correlated directly with serum levels of IFNγ. Synergistetes, positively correlated with the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in healthy controls, but tended to be reduced in lupus patients when anti-dsDNA titers were increased and also negatively correlation with IL-6 serum levels and IgM anti-phosphorylcholine antibodies.

These preliminary findings suggest a potential role for microbiome manipulation as a means of disease control in lupus patients.  More research is called for.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

Rheumatologists’ Comments

leslie williamson

| May 08, 2016 12:53 pm

I looked these microbiotia up and did not find either of the Ruminococcus species available.

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