Some very interesting and exciting research has just been published in the past few days which you may have seen floating all over the inter-webs.
Scientists have specified several specific gut microbes that may influence the onset of multiple sclerosis and its progression.
Most recently researchers at UC San Francisco identified two gut microbes that were much more common in patients that had multiple sclerosis as compared to the control group. The specific microbes are Akkermansia muciniphila and Acinetobacter calcoaceticu, obviously not so common names. One would think, oh this is a cool finding, but do these microbes have anything to do with the onset of MS? In the researchers took it a step further.
Using medical mice models, researchers injected these two microbes into healthy mice. Wouldn’t you know, their bodies begin to change and blood levels started showing signs of inflammation. The researchers then took it one step FURTHER and looked at how the microbiome of an individual who already has MS might impact neurodegeneration. The researchers preformed fecal transplants on mice who already had experimental forms of MS. The researchers found that when they replaced the microbiomes of these mice, with microbioms of MS patients, the mice lost immune-regulatory cells and began to have further neurodegeneration. THIS is the really exciting part of the research in my opinion. This shows that a disrupted gut microbiome is (one of) the precursors to MS and can play a part in it’s progression. Obviously there are other factors that contribute to MS as well. Like genetics, environment, vitamin D levels, diet etc. But this is very encouraging research!
One of the other implications of this research and the findings is possible treatments and preventative measures. Can you imagine if you are treated for your MS with probiotics? Or a fecal transplant? It’s hard to imagine now, and it may not be that simple in the future, but it’s an interesting thing to think about.
Obviously this is very preliminary research. But I am very encouraged by it. The fact that mainstream science is even looking at the gut microbiome in this way is incredibly encouraging. I even found an international MS microbiome study that is currently taking place. This is a very exciting time for research and I am encouraged to see what happens in the next few years.