Changes in gut microbiota have been associated with several diseases. Here, the International Multiple Sclerosis Microbiome Study (iMSMS) studied the gut microbiome of 576 MS patients (36% untreated) and genetically unrelated household healthy controls (1,152 total subjects). We observed a significantly increased proportion of Akkermansia muciniphila, Ruthenibacterium lactatiformans, Hungatella hathewayi, and Eisenbergiella tayi and decreased Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Blautia species. The phytate degradation pathway was over-represented in untreated MS, while pyruvate-producing carbohydrate metabolism pathways were significantly reduced. Microbiome composition, function, and derived metabolites also differed in response to disease-modifying treatments. The therapeutic activity of interferon-β may in part be associated with upregulation of short-chain fatty acid transporters. Distinct microbial networks were observed in untreated MS and healthy controls. These results strongly support specific gut microbiome associations with MS risk, course and progression, and functional changes in response to treatment.
Keywords: bioinformatics; gut microbiota; metagenomic sequencing; multiple sclerosis.
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