According to a recent research changes to gut bacteria could lead to multiple sclerosis (MS) and influence its progression in younger patients
The findings published in PNAS – are based on a series of experiments by researchers at the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in mice that developed multiple sclerosis and bowel inflammation after being exposed to certain bacteria. A number of previous studies have linked changes to gut bacteria or dysbiosis – with MS – however this is the first of its kind to suggest that the link could be age-dependent, according to Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, MD, Director of the RWJ Center for Multiple Sclerosis
“In children, MS is generally more inflammatory. At a younger age, bacteria is more likely to result in the disease, or exacerbate the disease and cause its progression.”
The development of MS in mice was found to be more prominent in younger mice, and appeared to be caused by the alteration of the gut bacteria in mice with genes that are linked with a risk of MS – suggesting that this dysbiosis results in both changes to the immune system and increased gut permeability resulting in the progression of MS at a certain age range.
According to Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut the dysbiosis of the gut bacteria affects our immune system – and that the resulting inflammation and permeability of the gut wall means that bacteria can get into the blood and affect the brain.
As a result of the findings researchers hope to be able to control the bacteria to limit inflammation and thus the progression of MS.
“The implication is that by manipulating gut bacteria with medications and antibiotics, and eliminating certain gut bacteria — we can prevent MS,” Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut went on to say “We have to identify the bacteria components that are harmful, versus those that are beneficial, and that’s what we’re currently investigating.”
There is still a need for better understanding in the relationship between gut dysbiosis and MS and so their research will concentrate on the bacteria that cause MS — and how these can be controlled and prevented.
“What we really know about is gut bacteria, and we are trying to explore that and find the harmful bacteria versus the beneficial bacteria.”