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The influence of interferon β-1b on gut microbiota composition in patients with multiple sclerosis.

ABSTRACT

The association between gut microbiota and animal models of multiple sclerosis has been well established; however, studies in humans are scarce. We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional study comparing the relative composition of gut microbiota in 30 patients with multiple sclerosis (15 treated with interferon β-1b, 15 not receiving this treatment) and 14 healthy controls using next generation sequencing. Patients with multiple sclerosis and controls showed differences in the proportion of Euryarchaeota, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Lentisphaerae phyla and in 17 bacterial species. More specifically, we found significant differences in the proportion of Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Lentisphaerae and 6 bacteria species between controls and untreated patients; however, these differences disappeared when compared with treated patients. Untreated patients showed a significant reduction in the proportion of Prevotella copri compared to controls, while the bacteria was significantly more abundant in patients treated with interferon β-1b than in untreated patients, with levels resembling those observed in the healthy control group. We observed differences in gut microbiota composition between patients with multiple sclerosis and controls, and between patients treated and not treated with interferon β-1b. In most cases, no differences were observed between treated patients and healthy controls, particularly for P. copri levels. This suggests that the clinical improvements observed in patients with multiple sclerosis receiving interferon β-1b may result from the effect of the drug on gut microbiota. Longitudinal and functional studies are necessary to establish a causal relationship. Copyright © 2018 Sociedad Española de Neurología. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.