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The role of gut microbiota in shaping the relapse-remitting and chronic-progressive forms of multiple sclerosis in mouse models

Gandy, KAO;Zhang, J;Nagarkatti, P;Nagarkatti, M;

Using a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE), we evaluated the role of gut microbiota in modulating chronic-progressive (CP) versus relapse-remitting (RR) forms of the disease. We hypothesized that clinical courses of EAE may be shaped by differential gut microbiota. Metagenomic sequencing of prokaryotic 16S rRNA present in feces from nave mice and those exhibiting CP-EAE or RR-EAE revealed significantly diverse microbial populations. Microbiota composition was considerably different between nave strains of mice, suggesting microbial components present in homeostatic conditions may prime mice for divergent courses of disease. Additionally, there were differentially abundant bacteria in CP and RR forms of EAE, indicating a potential role for gut microbiota in shaping tolerant or remittance-favoring, and pathogenic or pro-inflammatory-promoting conditions. Furthermore, immunization to induce EAE led to significant alterations in gut microbiota, some were shared between disease courses and others were course-specific, supporting a role for gut microbial composition in EAE pathogenesis. Moreover, using Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) coupled with effect size measurement (LEfSe) to analyze microbial content, biomarkers of each nave and disease states were identified. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that gut microbiota may determine the susceptibility to CP or RR forms of EAE.