AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Age and Gut Bacteria Contribute to MS Disease Progression, According to Rutgers Study

Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to Multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

In this study, Sudhir Yadav PhD, a neuroimmunology post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Drs. Kouichi Ito, associate professor of neurology, and Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, professor and chair of neurology, tested mice that were engineered to have a pre-disposition for MS. Because mice would not normally develop MS, researchers used MS-associated risk genes from real patients to genetically engineer mice for this study. Dr. Ito created this unique model of genetically engineered mice to specifically study the cause of MS.

At first, when the genetically modified mice were put in a sterile, germ-free environment, they did not develop MS. When exposed to a normal environment that would normally contain bacteria, the mice did develop MS-like disease and inflammation in their bowels, suggesting gut bacteria is a risk factor that triggers MS disease development.

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