Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility Associated With Certain Gut Bacteria

The following article is part of conference coverage from the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis 2020 Forum in West Palm Beach, Florida. Neurology Advisor‘s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the ACTRIMS 2020 Forum.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL — A network of gut bacteria species may be associated with host genetic factors that increase susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS), according to study results presented at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) 2020 Forum held from February 27 to 29, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The onset of MS among high-risk populations, such as individuals with a first-degree family member with MS, may be affected by the gut microbiome. Therefore, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study to examine serum microbial metabolites of the gut microbiome in this high-risk population.

Researchers investigated data from 80 asymptomatic individuals with a genetic susceptibility for MS. Each participant donated blood and stool samples and completed a food-frequency questionnaire. Researchers measured concentrations of small molecules in the blood produced by gut bacteria and generated gut metagenome profiles from stool; they then calculated each participant’s fiber intake and diet-quality score. Multivariate linear modeling was performed with host factors and meta-features of gut microbiome co-abundant groups (CAG), adjusting for age, gender, and body mass index. 

Results revealed that the gut bacterial species CAG 1 was most significantly associated with host genetic risk score for MS susceptibility (beta, -0.0067±0.0026; P =.013; false discovery rate [FDR] =0.079). CAG 1 includes a community of gut bacterial species previously associated with MS, including several species from the bacterial family Lachnospiraceae, as well as Akkermansia muciniphila, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Parabacteroides distasonis, Methanobrevibacter spp, Prevotella spp, Ruminococcus spp, and Sutterella spp. CAG 111 was most significantly associated with host diet quality in relation to gut bacterial function (beta, 0.0028±0.0008; P =.00068; FDR =0.082).

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The researchers concluded that their findings may lead to the longitudinal examination of the role of the gut microbiome in the onset of MS.

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Xia, Z, White C, Zong W, Tseng G, De Jager P. Mapping the baseline gut microbiome landscape in people at risk for multiple sclerosis: a network approach. Presented at: ACTRIMS Forum 2020; February 27-29, 2020; West Palm Beach, FL. Abstract P188.