The role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases

Clin Rheumatol. 2018 Jan;37(1):25-34. doi: 10.1007/s10067-017-3821-4. Epub 2017 Sep 15.


Rheumatic diseases refer to many diseases with a loss of immune self-tolerance, leading to a chronic inflammation, degeneration, or metabolic derangement in multiple organs or tissues. The cause of rheumatic diseases remains to be elucidated, though both environmental and genetic factors are required for the development of rheumatic diseases. Over the past decades, emerging studies suggested that alteration of intestinal microbiota, known as gut dysbiosis, contributed to the occurrence or development of a range of rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic sclerosis, and Sjogren's syndrome, through profoundly affecting the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory immune responses. In this article, we discussed the role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases based on a large number of experimental and clinical materials, thereby providing a new insight for microbiota-targeted therapies to prevent or cure rheumatic diseases.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Gut; Microbiota; Rheumatic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases / microbiology*