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FEBS Lett. 2014 Nov 17;588(22):4244-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.05.034. Epub 2014 May 27.

Arthritis susceptibility and the gut microbiome.

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Department of Immunology and Division of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, United States. Electronic address:


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease with unknown etiology though both genetic and environmental factors have been suggested to be involved in its pathogenesis. While infections and other environmental factors (e.g. smoking) have been studied extensively and show some association, a direct link between all the factors has been difficult to prove. With the recent advances in technology, it has become possible to sequence the commensals that are residing in our gut. The gut microbiome may provide the missing link to this puzzle and help solve the mystery of many leaky gut syndromes. The gut commensals are involved in maintaining host immune homeostasis and function suggesting that they might be critical in altering the immune system, which leads to autoimmune diseases like RA. Mouse models support the role of the gut microbiota in predisposition to RA. If that is true, the power of gut-derived commensal can be harnessed to our benefit by generating a biomarker profile along with genetic factors to define individuals at risk and by altering the gut microbial composition using various means.


Collagen-induced arthritis; Gut microbiome; Humanized mice; Rheumatoid arthritis

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