Gut microbiota, diet may hold clues to RA treatment, management – Healio
Coras reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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It was 2013 when data from the Human Microbiome Project first demonstrated that the presence of Prevotella bacteria in the gut strongly correlated with disease in patients with new-onset untreated rheumatoid arthritis.
Since then, new data from the NIH initiative continue to detail the potentially significant influences of the microbiome on rheumatic diseases such as RA, leading researchers to ask bigger questions. In addition to promoting disease activity, the gut microbiota might also influence the response to treatment in patients with RA, making specific microbiota potential therapeutic targets. Furthermore, researchers have begun to explore the effects of dietary interventions to restore the microbiome in patients with RA, as well as dietary approaches to the treatment of RA.
“Right now, people are trying to study the interaction between the microbiome in RA with drugs,” Roxana Coras MD, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology at the University of California San Diego, told Healio. “There are a few studies which found a patient’s baseline microbiome was related to response to treatment, but baseline microbiome can also be related to response to diet.”
Healio spoke with Coras about the role of the microbiome in RA, how gut bacteria may affect response to diet and how diet can combat inflammation.
Before disease onset: microbiome’s role
In RA, genetic susceptibility is important, though typically there are environmental factors that will trigger the onset of the disease.
“We do have a few already known environmental factors that can be triggers for disease — smoking tobacco, periodontal disease and recently, there are data that components from the diet can also play a role,” Coras said.
More recent data show the mucosal microbiota can be involved in different ways in the development of RA, Coras said.
“The microbiome is important in the development of immunity, beginning at birth,” Coras said. “The interaction between different immune cells and these bacteria are important for the development of the immune system. If something happens, it can favor development of autoimmune diseases.”
Considerable interest exists in Prevotella copri as a potential mediator of RA pathology, Coras said.
“We have some studies that have shown …….