Gut bacteria 'could lead to MS development'

11 August 2014

A bacteria located in the gut could be a potential cause and therapeutic target for autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, according to new research.

Two comprehensive Review articles in a special issue of Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research focus on the role that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract as well as other cell stress-related chemical signals could have in stimulating inflammation in the central nervous system and activating immunostimulatory cytokines.

Currently, numerous risk factors are believed to contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

In the article Gut Commensalism, Cytokines, and Central Nervous System Demyelination, authors  describe three key characteristics of the gut microbiome related to immune cell activity and cytokine production that may be relevant to susceptibility to and treatment of autoimmune disorders

In the Review article "Interferons, Signal Transduction Pathways, and the Central Nervous System, experts point to the role of cytokines, and in particular interferons, in contributing to the development of diseases affecting the central nervous system.

The authors discuss the potential effects of either an excess or lack of interferons, the inflammatory effects of cytokines, and new therapeutic research strategies.

Editor-in-Chief Dr Thomas Hamilton, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Immunology at Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, commented: "The communications between the microbial community in the gut and the host immune system is turning out to be remarkably complex and is likely to impact on many aspects of both health and disease."

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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