JAN 10, 2022 10:25 AM PST

A Specific Microbe is Associated with Worsening Lupus

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

We are closely connected to the microbes in our gastrointestinal tract. They have a significant influence on various aspects of our health, including the immune system. Research has also associated imbalances in the gut microbiome, or specific gut microbes, to a wide variety of illnesses. Scientists have now linked lupus to a specific bacterium known as segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB). In a mouse model, SFB had negative effects on a mouse model of lupus nephritis. The findings have been published in Scientific Reports.

Image credit: Pixabay

It's estimated that about five million people worldwide have lupus. The incidence of lupus can vary widely by country, with the highest rates in North America, and the lowest rates in Africa, Northern Australia, and Ukraine. Women are affected at higher rates then men, and the rate appears to be rising over time.

Any given patient may have several different symptoms of lupus, which could include a facial rash, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, or joint pain. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the internal organs are attacked by the immune system. Genetics, hormones, and environmental conditions are thought to play a role. Mounting evidence is indicating that the microbiome also influences the condition.

"This [latest study] is a major finding, because it provides a basis for future studies that will examine the effects of interventions that target the gut microbiota in the management of lupus," said lead study author Dr. Wael Jarjour of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine.

In this work, the researchers used a mouse model of lupus nephritis, in which the kidneys are damaged by excessive levels of cytokines, similar to what's been observed in some lupus patients. When the mice were exposed to SFB, their kidney lesions got much worse. The bacterium seemed to make the intestinal wall more prone to leakage. So-called leaky gut, in which the microbes and the molecules they produce aren't properly sequestered in the gastrointestinal tract, has been associated with several autoimmune conditions. Those microorganisms and their associated molecules can enter circulation and stimulate the immune system.

SFB affected other gut bacteria in the microbiome of the mouse model as well, and it became imbalanced, Jarjour noted.

Now, the researchers are planning to investigate whether removing SFB has a positive effect on the disease. Findings from that research could establish a basis for clinical research, added Jarjour.

Sources: The Ohio State University, Scientific Reports

 

About the Author
BS
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JAN 28, 2022
Microbiology
Harsh Subseafloor Biosphere is a Hotbed of Microbial Activity
JAN 28, 2022
Harsh Subseafloor Biosphere is a Hotbed of Microbial Activity
Most geobiological research is done on land, so there is a lot we don't know about the microbial life that lives in ...
FEB 15, 2022
Microbiology
A Gut Microbe Metabolite Makes Mice More Anxious
FEB 15, 2022
A Gut Microbe Metabolite Makes Mice More Anxious
Many different research studies from groups all over the world have now provided indisputable evidence of the importance ...
FEB 23, 2022
Microbiology
Miscarriages May be Linked to Vaginal Microbes
FEB 23, 2022
Miscarriages May be Linked to Vaginal Microbes
Microbes can be found living nearly anywhere on earth, including inside the human body. The microbiome of various parts ...
APR 10, 2022
Microbiology
"Raised Without Antibiotics" Labels Found to be Misleading
APR 10, 2022
"Raised Without Antibiotics" Labels Found to be Misleading
There is growing concern about whether our antibiotics can keep pace with the threats posed by new and emerging bacteria ...
APR 27, 2022
Microbiology
In Infants, the Gut Virome is Linked to a Deadly Disease
APR 27, 2022
In Infants, the Gut Virome is Linked to a Deadly Disease
As soon as we are born, maybe even before that, the human gut is colonized with microbes including bacteria, fungi, and ...
MAY 21, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
The Effect of a Genetic Mutation Can Change Over Time, and Evolution
MAY 21, 2022
The Effect of a Genetic Mutation Can Change Over Time, and Evolution
Geneticists have sought to understand the impact of genetic mutations, and what drives and maintains changes in DNA.
Loading Comments...