Host-microflora interaction in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): colonization resistance of the indigenous bacteria of the intestinal tract

Epidemiol Infect. 1994 Apr;112(2):367-73. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800057770.


Experimental data suggest a role for the microflora in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Anti-ds-DNA antibodies may be pathogenic in SLE by forming immune complexes with DNA. Foreign bacteria in the intestines could constitute the stimulus for anti-ds-DNA antibody production in SLE. Colonization Resistance (CR) is the defence capacity of the indigenous microflora against colonization of the intestines by foreign bacteria. A low CR implies increase of translocation of bacteria and a higher chance of subsequent, possibly DNA-cross-reacting antibacterial antibody production. We measured CR by a comprehensive biotyping technique in healthy individuals and patients with inactive and active SLE. CR tended to be lower in active SLE patients than in healthy individuals (P = 0.09, Wilcoxon one sided, with correction for ties). This could indicate that in SLE more and different bacteria translocate across the gut wall due to a lower CR. Some of these may serve as polyclonal B cell activators or as antigens cross-reacting with DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross Reactions
  • DNA / immunology
  • Enterobacteriaceae / classification
  • Enterobacteriaceae / immunology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Serotyping


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • DNA