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Study Links Gut Microbiome to Rheumatoid Arthritis

The gut microbiome may play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study appearing this week in Science Translational Medicine. While the specific triggers of RA are unknown, some hypothesize that mucosal immune responses are involved in the initiation or perpetuation of the systemic autoimmunity that occurs with the disease and, to investigate, a team led by University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researchers analyzed immunoglobulin A and immunoglobulin G in blood samples from four people at risk of developing RA and two people in the early stages of the disease. They find that the antibodies reacted not only to RA-relevant autoantigens, but also to gut bacteria from the bacterial families Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae, and specifically Subdoligranulum bacteria. Further experimentation revealed a Subdoligranulum isolate from an RA patient that is targeted by monoclonal antibodies and activated T cells. When mice were colonized with this isolate, they developed RA symptoms such as inflamed joints. "Our data suggest one pathway by which the intestinal microbiome and mucosal immune responses can lead to systemic autoreactivity and joint pathology that is potentially a pathway in human RA," the study's authors write.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.