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Children with and without multiple sclerosis have differences in gut bacteria

In a recent study, children with multiple sclerosis had differences in the abundance of specific gut bacteria than children without the disease. Certain types of bacteria were either more or less abundant in children with multiple sclerosis. In particular, there was an association between multiple sclerosis and an increase in gut bacteria that have been linked to inflammation and a decrease in gut bacteria that are considered anti-inflammatory.

A better understanding of gut bacteria’s role in multiple sclerosis may identify novel drug targets and pathways to improved health.

“While these findings are preliminary, they are intriguing. We also observed some similarities between our findings and other emerging gut microbiota studies in multiple sclerosis; whether these indicate a ‘gut signature’ of multiple sclerosis or of broader autoimmune disease remains to be determined,” said Professor Helen Tremlett, lead author of the European Journal of Neurology study. “We also found differences in the gut microbiota composition between those children taking a disease-modifying drug for their disease compared with those who were not. This finding warrants further study.”

Article: Gut microbiota in early pediatric multiple sclerosis: a case-control study, Helen Tremlett et al., European Journal of Neurology, doi: 10.1111/ene.13026, published online 13 May 2016.