WHAT CAUSES AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
In the past decade, research has revealed an important connection between gut dysbiosis and the development of autoimmune diseases. Various autoimmune diseases, like Type I Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, and Asthma have been linked to changes in the Gut Microbiota, or even to specific bacterial species. In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, mice that do not carry any gut microbes (germ-free mice) do not seem to develop arthritis, hinting at a potential role of gut microbes in the development and progression of the disease.
Human-based studies have even linked specific gut microbes, like Prevotella copri and Lactobacillus salivarius to rheumatoid arthritis. In multiple sclerosis (MS), the gut microbiota makeup in MS patients is significantly different from healthy people, having reduced species richness. In one animal-based study, the gut microbiota was found to play a role in the development of autoimmune responses related to MS.
Comparable studies, in both humans or animals, have established interesting links between gut microbiota and other autoimmune conditions, like Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and Type 1 diabetes. However, studies so far have only established clear correlations between microbes and autoimmune diseases, and studies establishing the actual mechanisms involved are still scarce.