Researchers have revealed that the intestine is the source of immune cells which plays an important role in reducing brain inflammation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). They also discovered that by increasing the number of these cells inflammation can be blocked entirely in a preclinical model of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder, driven by immune cells including B and T cells. These cells attack myelin. Myelin is the protective covering surrounding nerve fibers and causes communication complications between the brain and the rest of your body. Ultimately, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to weaken or become damaged permanently.
Latest clinical readings have shown medications, targeting B cells, to alleviate MS, while those which target plasma cells make this disorder even worse.
Outcomes of the research
The research was conducted at the University of Toronto and UC San Francisco.This research, published in Journal Cell, shows that plasma cells in the gut can move to the central nervous system in the brain during flare-ups, carrying an army to help diminish inflammation.
Once, plasma cells were considered as the arsonists of multiple sclerosis (MS). But they are actually showing up to fight against the disease.
Surprisingly, this observation that plasma cells travel from gut to brain and involved in regulating a mouse model of MS, is extremely different and unique. Bruce Bebo says that microorganisms present in the gut can cause a change in plasma that is initially produced in bone marrow as B cells.She is Ph.D., executive vice president of research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Jennifer L. Gommerman found that not all plasma cells are bad. He is Ph.D., a study author, and professor and associate chair of graduate studies in the department of immunology at the University of Toronto. According to him, an autoimmune disorder, some are involved to quiet the inflammation.
Researchers found that plasma cells present in the gut make an immunoglobulin called IgA. These immunoglobulins have the capacity to make other products to end inflammation. And, they also have the ability to travel to other parts of the body.
The research gives us concepts of possibly treating the disease. As plasma cells drive to the brain. The trouble with anti-inflammatory is getting drugs into the brain, which might be a solution to the disorder.
Genetics are one-factor affecting susceptibility to MS; the present study highlights how non-genetic factors may confer the disease resistance.
Researchers stated that although they have conducted studies on mice models, human studies have also shown similar outcomes.
Researchers, on focusing the role of MS and gut bacteria, are mapping all the gut bacteria which they think are linked to MS, or however more predominant or less predominant.
Gommerman and Baranzini met at a conference about 1/2 years ago.They decided to work together after seeing the similarities in their study.
Baranzini explained that they observed that during a relapse the IgA quantities reduced in the gut. And, they found that there was an increase of IgA in cerebral spinal fluid during a relapse.
After that, they found that once they go to the brain, they are aiding in the production of interleukin 10 (IL-10),. It helps in reducing inflammation.
Antibodies are normally directed against something particular, for instance, the flu. But researchers still don’t identify what the specifics of the IgA are, so they are now trying to identify this specificity.
What could be next
According to Gommerman, their experiments were done genetically. But, they wanted to know whether they can do it pharmacologically and make this model into a drug.
They still needed to look closer at the gut to see how the presence of these cells in the brain can be encouraged by having the right microbes in the gut. It could possibly direct an immune response which is useful for MS patients.
According to Dr. Barbara Giesser, a professor of clinical neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and clinical director of the UCLA MS program,the gut is a major immune organ. And it is recognized that there are vital interactions between gut immune function, gut microbes, and MS.
This study, by reporting that gut immune cells can move to the brain and decrease inflammation, explains the key mechanism by which the gut microbiome and the gut immune cells can affect immune function in MS. Hence, it may be a path for future therapeutic intervention.
The study was partly funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of a larger portfolio of research between microbiota and the health of gut on the brain.
Research has shown that gut microbiota varied between healthy individuals and those who are living with Multiple sclerosis. The variances have not been the same across the board.
Bebo reported that there is no fundamental connection, but just an association between MS and health of the gut.
However, we need to know how these cells can be helped by a healthy microbiome and what this looks like. Nothing is actionable yet. As presently researchers don’t know to what extent the cells are controlling the immune response leading to the damage from MS. One of the next steps for the research team is to define which microorganisms in the gut cause the generation of IgA-producing plasma cells.
The paper denotes that they play a part. But we must understand our diet and how controlling microbiota in the gut can certainly affect our health. This research causes unanswered questions and opens up a new area of analysis.
There is growing data of gut bacteria and its special effects on the brain. We are unraveling the link, and this is a big footstep in increasing our knowledge.
According to Gommerman, by understanding what these cells are reacting to, we can possibly treat MS by modifying bacteria present in our gut.