Spondyloarthritis-Related Diseases Share Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis

Heidi Splete

August 10, 2023

TOPLINE:

Patients with spondyloarthritis (SpA) experience similar gut microbiota dysbiosis with related inflammatory conditions, such as acute anterior uveitis (AAU) and Crohn's disease (CD), new data show.

METHODOLOGY:

  • Researchers performed 16S rRNA sequencing on stool samples from 277 adult patients from the German Spondyloarthritis Inception Cohort (102 with SpA, 72 with CD, and 103 with AAU) and 62 control patients with chronic back pain for whom SpA had been ruled out.

  • Patients were treatment-naive to biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or had not received them for more than 3 months prior to study enrollment.

  • The study is the first to identify the same microbiota in patients with SpA, AAU, and CD.

TAKEAWAY:

  • "Our results showed a shared depletion of predominately Lachnospiraceae taxa, most notably Fusicatenibacter, which partially mediated increased CRP [C-reactive protein], and was most abundant in controls receiving NSAID monotherapy," the researchers write.

  • Among patients who tested positive for HLA-B27, an allele associated with SpA and other spondyloarthropathies, levels of Faecalibacterium were increased; among patients with SpA, levels of Collinsella were enriched; and among patients with CD, there was an abundance of beneficial Ruminococcus bacteria.

  • The results suggest the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of the gut microbiome for mediating disease activity for patients with autoimmune diseases.

  • Additional research is needed to clarify the roles of different bacteria in gut-joint inflammation and to understand the relationship between genetics and gut microbes.

IN PRACTICE:

  • The study is too preliminary to have applications for practice.

SOURCE:

Co–first authors Morgan Essex, MSc, and Valeria Rios Rodriguez, MD, of Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany, and colleagues conducted the study, which was published online July 20, 2023, in Arthritis and Rheumatology.

LIMITATIONS:

  • The results were limited by several factors, including the restriction to amplicon sequencing, which prevented in-depth characterization of the gut microbiome.

  • More studies are needed to validate the findings, especially regarding gut bacteria as potential mediators of inflammation or disease activity. The researchers recommended studies with whole-genome sequencing and fecal metabolite quantification.

DISCLOSURES:

The study was supported in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Additional funding came from the German Federal Ministry for Health and Research and the Berlin Institute of Health. Two patient cohorts were partially and separately supported by grants from Novartis and AbbVie.

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