MS – may be triggered by a common human bacteria..?

Medical News Today article (25 Nov 2009)

It seems research has found that an oral bacterium exacerbating autoimmune diseases. This research is yet to be published in the December 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

The bacterium in question is porphyromas gingivalis, a common oral bacterium in humans, which produces a unique type of lipid, phosphorylated dihydroceramides (DHCs), which in turn enhance inflammatory responses. These can also be found in other parts of the body such as the gastrointestinal tract.

To determine if these lipids accentuate immune-mediated damage in autoimmune disease the phosphorylated DHCs were administered in a mouse model of MS. The severity of disease was significantly enhanced by the addition of these lipids in a manner that was dependent on activation of the immune system. These data suggest that phosphorylated DHCs from bacteria commonly found in humans may trigger or increase the severity of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Concluding, the authors state that “while it is clear that the immune system in most individuals has the potential to attack self-tissues, the “tipping” factors that initiate and propagate autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis in only a subset of individuals remain unknown. Overall, [their] results represent the first description that phosphorylated DHCs derived from common human bacteria are capable of enhancing autoimmune disease.” Thus, these lipids may function as “tipping” factors, playing a previously unrecognized role in initiating or exacerbating human autoimmune diseases.

For more details on the article follow the Medical News Today link.

 

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