Gut bacteria and MS

The MS treatment shown to boost good gut bacteria

A disease-modifying therapy (DMT) has been found to improve gut bacteria in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) caused a reduced proportion of pro-inflammatory gut flora and an increase in ‘good’ bacteria when taken for three months, researchers from the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel found.

The study was done on 20 MS patients. Tecfidera reduces the number of MS relapses someone has by interfering with metabolic activity of certain immune cells.

In this study, researchers examined blood and stool samples before and after 12 months of treatment with Tecfidera. They also measured lymphocytes to monitor for lymphopenia – a lack of lymphocytes in the blood.

After three months there were measurable changes in gut bacteria, with the flora starting to become more like what’s seen in healthy people.

They also identified the bacteria akkermansia muciniphila when combined with a lack of prevotella copri was a risk factor for lymphopenia.

“Our data suggest that immunomodulatory therapies affect not only immune cells, but also positively influence the gut microbiome,” they said.

They added that this was a relatively small study and that more, larger-scale studies are needed to explore the potential of these findings.