Distinct Changes in Microbiome-Driven Pathways and Gut Bacteria Tied to Inflammatory Arthritis

Lucy Hicks

July 26, 2023


Patients with inflammatory arthritis exhibit similar changes in gut microbiota and microbiome-driven pathways, according to new research.


  • Researchers in the Inflammatory Arthritis Microbiome Consortium conducted an observational, cross-sectional study in which they analyzed the metagenomes of stool samples from 221 adults diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, or psoriatic arthritis and 219 healthy adults.

  • Recruited adults (ages ranging from 20-93) from clinical locations across the United Kingdom from June 2015 to March 2020

  • Accessed how changes in microbiota and shifts in processes centered in the microbiome related to inflammatory arthritis


  • The microbes Escherichia coli and Ruminococcus gnavus were more abundant than expected in patients with inflammatory arthritis.

  • Identified microbiome-driven functional pathways associated with disease, including changes in iron sequestration, salvage and biosynthesis of vitamin B, and the encoding of folic acid metabolism pathways.

  • Some of these changes "could represent mechanisms for long-term prevention, risk reduction, or treatment," the authors write.


This study is too preliminary to have practice application.


Kelsey N. Thompson, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, led the research. The study was published online today in Science Translational Medicine.


Considering the individual variations in the human gut microbiome, the study sample is still considered relatively small. Study participants were from one country and mostly White.


The study was supported by Versus Arthritis; the British National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centres in Birmingham, Newcastle, Oxford, and at the Great Ormond Street Hospital; and The Judith and Stewart Colton Center for Autoimmunity. Study authors report financial relationships with AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Empress Therapeutics, Sanofi, Seres Therapeutics, Vedanta Sciences, and ZOE Nutrition.

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