Microbiota dysbiosis and myasthenia gravis: Do all roads lead to Rome?

Autoimmun Rev. 2023 May;22(5):103313. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2023.103313. Epub 2023 Mar 12.


Dysregulated immune system with a failure to recognize self from non-self-antigens is one of the common pathogeneses seen in autoimmune diseases. The complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors is important for the occurrence and development of the disease. Among the environmental factors, disturbed gut microbiota (gut dysbiosis) has recently attracted particular attention, especially with advancement in human microbiome research. Although the alterations in microbiota have been seen in various autoimmune diseases, including those of nervous system, there is paucity of information on neuromuscular system diseases. Myasthenia gravis (MG) is one such rare autoimmune disease of neuromuscular junction, and is caused by generation of pathogenic autoantibodies to components of the postsynaptic muscle endplate. In the recent years, accumulating evidences have endorsed the key role of host microbiota, particularly those of gut, in the pathogenesis of MG. Differential microbiota composition, characterized by increased abundance of Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, and decreased abundance of Actinobacteria and Firmicutes, has been seen in MG patients in comparison to healthy subjects. Disturbance of microbiota composition, particularly reduced ratio of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes, alter the gut permeability, subsequently triggering the immunological response. Resultant reduction in levels of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) is another factor contributing to the immunological response in MG patients. Modulation of gut microbiota via intervention of probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, postbiotics (metabiotics), and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is considered to be the futuristic approach for the management of MG. This review summarizes the role of gut microbiota and their metabolites (postbiotics) in the progression of MG. Also, various bacteriotherapeutic approaches involving gut microbiota are discussed for the prevention of MG progression.

Keywords: Fecal microbiota transplantation; Gut dysbiosis; Microbiome; Microbiota; Myasthenia gravis; Prebiotics; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Myasthenia Gravis* / therapy
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Rome


  • Prebiotics