The microbiome and systemic lupus erythematosus

Immunol Res. 2017 Apr;65(2):432-437. doi: 10.1007/s12026-017-8906-2.


The microbiota, which is comprised of the collective of all microbes inhabiting the gut and its effect on the human host in which it resides, has become a growing field of interest. Various parameters of health and disease have been found to be associated with the variation in the human gut microbiome. In recent years, many studies have demonstrated an important role of gut microbes in the development of various illnesses including autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Although the mechanism of the disease involves both genetic and environmental factors, lupus has been found to be affected by the composition of the microbes lining the intestines. Several recent studies have suggested that alterations of the gut microbial composition may be correlated with SLE disease manifestations, while the exact roles of either symbiotic or pathogenic microbes in this disease have yet to be explored. Elucidation of the roles of gut microbes in SLE will shed light on how this autoimmune disorder develops and provide opportunities for improved biomarkers of the disease and the potential to probe new therapies. This new knowledge, along with that enabling alteration in composition of the gut microbiome, via diet modification, antibiotic, and probiotics, may bring forward a new era in the future of lupus treatment.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Gut; Lupus; Microbiota; SLE.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diet Therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / microbiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Symbiosis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biomarkers