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What Triggers Changes in Gut Bacteria in People with MS? New Study Suggests Pathway

December 19, 2022

The gut microbiome – millions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the intestines – is known to be altered in people with MS. A team from Rutgers University may have found how damaging immune activity in MS triggers these changes in gut bacteria.
  • They report that a type of immune cell that infiltrates the gut (neutrophils) and a protein neutrophils produce (lipocalin 2) are both increased in mice with MS-like disease.
  • Then they found that lipocalin 2 levels also were elevated in stool samples from people with MS compared to people without MS, and these levels indicated increased gut inflammation.
  • This study was funded by research grants from the National MS Society and National Institutes of Health. Further study is needed to confirm these findings, and to tease out whether dietary strategies or probiotics can reduce gut inflammation in people with MS, along with MS symptoms.
Based on the results so far, this team is now testing a high-fiber supplement in 50 people with MS. The study is looking at how fiber affects gut inflammation and lipocalin 2 levels, particularly before and after MS relapses.

Read more about this research from Rutgers University

View the paper in Frontiers in Immunology

What we know about diet and MS

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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