Gut Bacteria May Play Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis Activity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Veena Taneja, Ph.D Immunologist Mayo Clinic Rochester MN

Dr. Veena Taneja

Veena Taneja, Ph.D
Immunologist
Mayo Clinic
Rochester MN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Gut bacteria have been suggested to be involved in pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. We used new technology to sequence the bacteria in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and first degree relatives and healthy individuals. We found that patients had lower diversity of bacteria than healthy individuals and the composition of the gut microbiota differed between patients and healthy people. We could identify some bacteria that have expanded in patients though those are generally observed with low numbers in healthy individuals. We could define certain metabolic signatures that associated with microbial profile. For the first time, we could show a direct link between the arthritis-associated bacteria we identified and enhancement of arthritis using a mice carrying the RA-susceptible HLA gene.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response:Our study suggests that we may be able to use this knowledge of microbial profile along with other known risk factors to predict who is at risk of developing severe arthritis. Gut microbial composition may also help in subgrouping patients according to clinical features as well as drug efficacy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The potential impact of the gut microbiota on our immune system in health and disease has been realized recently. A lot of work needs to be done to understand the full impact of the gut microbiome and how gut bacteria interact with the immune cells as well as microbiota on the other mucosal surfaces.

Future research needs to define the bacterial metabolites and their function to find ways to balance the gut microbiota. Many investigators are working to achieve this. Microbes can also be used to change the microbial composition which may help in keeping the gut healthy. Gut microbial composition may help in predicting which drug will be efficacious for various groups with a disease.

The potential impact of the gut microbiota on our immune system in health and disease has been realized recently. A lot of work needs to be done to understand the full impact of the gut microbiome and how gut bacteria interact with the immune cells as well as microbiota on the other mucosal surfaces. Future research needs to define the bacterial metabolites and their function to find ways to balance the gut microbiota. Many investigators are working to achieve this. Microbes can also be used to change the microbial composition which may help in keeping the gut healthy. Gut microbial composition may help in predicting which drug will be efficacious for various groups with a disease.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: An altered gut microbiome in a disease state could be a cause or consequence. It is also possible that gut dysbiosis alone is not responsible for the disease. Host genotype and other environmental factors could also be involved in causation of a disease. Diet is known to influence the gut microbial profile. High fat diet in certain conditions may contribute to the change in the gut microbiota causing inflammation in the gut.

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Citation: An expansion of rare lineage intestinal microbes characterizes rheumatoid arthritis
Genome Medicine20168:43
DOI: 10.1186/s13073-016-0299-7 Chen et al
Published: 21 April 2016

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