MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Considerable alterations in the gut microbiota are seen in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Genome Medicine.

Florence Thirion, from Université Paris-Saclay, and colleagues conducted a case-control study involving 148 Danish cases with multiple sclerosis and 148 matched healthy controls to examine the characteristics of gut microbiota in multiple sclerosis and its association with disease variables.

The researchers found that when comparing all multiple sclerosis cases with healthy controls, 61 bacterial species were abundantly different, and of these, 31 species were enriched in cases. There was a positive association seen for a cluster of inflammatory markers composed of blood leukocytes, C-reactive protein, and blood cell gene expression of IL17A and IL6 with a cluster of multiple sclerosis-related species. In cases with disease-active treatment-naive multiple sclerosis, bacterial species that were more abundant were positively linked to a group of plasma cytokines including interleukin (IL)-22, IL-17A, interferon-β, IL-33, and tumor necrosis factor-α. There was an association observed for the bacterial species richness of treatment-naive multiple sclerosis cases with the number of relapses during a two-year period. In cases without active disease, the absolute abundance of two bacterial species (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens), known to produce anti-inflammatory metabolites, was enriched. Higher viral species diversity and higher abundance of Caudovirales bacteriophages were seen in cases with multiple sclerosis.

“Perhaps in the long term, patients will be able to take dietary supplements that promote development of the right intestinal bacteria, or we can take intestinal bacteria that promote a favorable metabolism in the intestine,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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