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Study Tracks Multiple Sclerosis-Related Gut Microbe Changes

A team from France, Denmark, and other international centers describe gut microbial community changes found in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a paper appearing in Genome Medicine. Using shotgun metagenomic sequencing, the researchers assessed gut microbial community features in stool samples from 148 Danish children with MS and another 148 age- and sex-matched controls from the same population, analyzing the microbiomes in conjunction with blood plasma cytokine, blood gene expression, and clinical features. In the process, they focused in on bugs linked to MS overall, MS-related inflammatory markers, future relapse, and other disease features, along with MS-linked viral and bacteriophage patterns. "These bacterial species or their derived immune-modulating postbiotics are candidates to be tested in future clinically controlled interventions as a microbiota-based adjunct therapy," the authors note. "Alternatively, medical treatment could be combined with a tailored plant-based diet favoring specific gut bacterial production of the identified immune-modulating compounds."