According to researchers at Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, your microbiome regulates the immune system and related autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Specific gut bacteria may trigger the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly fuel disease progression in people genetically predisposed to this confounding condition, say the researchers, who are participating in the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare.
"A lot of people suspected that gut flora played a role in rheumatoid arthritis, but no one had been able to prove it because they couldn't say which came first — the bacteria or the genes," says senior author Veena Taneja, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic immunologist. "Using genomic sequencing technologies, we have been able to show the gut microbiome may be used as a biomarker for predisposition."
The roughly 10 trillion cells that make up the human body works with bacteria that often helps training the immune system and aiding in digestion, for example. The bacteria in the intestines, in addition to a relatively small number of other microorganisms (the gut microbiome), outnumber human cells 10-to-1. Researchers found that hormones and changes related to aging may further modulate the gut immune system and exacerbate inflammatory conditions in genetically susceptible individuals.
Researchers with the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare say that identifying new biomarkers in intestinal microbial populations and maintaining a balance in gut bacteria could help physicians stop rheumatoid arthritis before it starts.
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