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Modulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis through colonisation of the gut with Escherichia coli

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neuro-inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects young adults. It is characterised by the development of demyelinating lesions and inflammation within the CNS. Although the causes of MS are still elusive, recent work using patient samples and experimental animal models has demonstrated a strong relationship between the gut microbiota and its contribution to CNS inflammation and MS. While there is no cure for MS, alteration of the gut microbiota composition through the use of probiotics is a very promising treatment. However, while most recent works have focused on the use of probiotics to modify pre-existing disease, little is known about its role in protecting from the establishment of MS. In this study, we determined whether colonisation with the probiotic bacterium Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 (EcN) could be used as a prophylactic strategy to prevent or alter the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a preclinical model of MS. We found that double gavage (two doses) of EcN before induction of EAE delayed disease onset and decreased disease severity. We also found that EcN-treated mice had decreased amounts of perivascular cuffing, CD4+ T cell infiltration into the CNS, together with significantly decreased absolute numbers of Th1 cells, and reduced activation of microglia. Although further studies are necessary to comprehend the exact protective mechanisms induced, our study supports a promising use of EcN as a probiotic for the prevention of MS.
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Keywords: Escherichia coli Nissle 1917; central nervous system disease; multiple sclerosis; myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein; oral gavage

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, 15 North Medical Drive East, 2600 EEJMRB, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. 2: 2Laboratory of Bacteriology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Building 2 Room 202, 903 4th Street, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.

Publication date: November 15, 2020

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  • Beneficial Microbes is a peer-reviewed scientific journal with a specific area of focus: the promotion of the science of microbes beneficial to the health and wellbeing of man and animal. The journal contains original research papers and critical reviews in all areas dealing with beneficial microbes in both the small and large intestine, together with opinions, a calendar of forthcoming beneficial microbes-related events and book reviews. The journal takes a multidisciplinary approach and focuses on a broad spectrum of issues, including safety aspects of pro- & prebiotics, regulatory aspects, mechanisms of action, health benefits for the host, optimal production processes, screening methods, (meta)genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, host and bacterial physiology, application, and role in health and disease in man and animal. Beneficial Microbes is intended to serve the needs of researchers and professionals from the scientific community and industry, as well as those of policy makers and regulators.
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