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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 57-72

The emerging world of microbiome in autoimmune disorders: Opportunities and challenges

1 Department of Pathology, University of Iowa, Iowa, IA, USA
2 Department of Rheumatology, St Francis Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashutosh K Mangalam
Department of Pathology, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, 25 S. Grand Avenue, 1080 ML, Iowa City, IA 52242
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_210_20

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Trillions of commensal bacteria colonizing humans (microbiome) have emerged as essential player(s) in human health. The alteration of the same has been linked with diseases including autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis. Gut bacteria are separated from the host through a physical barrier such as skin or gut epithelial lining. However, the perturbation in the healthy bacterial community (gut dysbiosis) can compromise gut barrier integrity, resulting in translocation of bacterial contents across the epithelial barrier (leaky gut). Bacterial contents such as lipopolysaccharide and bacterial antigens can induce a systemic inflammatory environment through activation and induction of immune cells. The biggest question in the field is whether inflammation causes gut dysbiosis or dysbiosis leads to disease induction or propagation, i.e., it is inside out or outside in or both. In this review, we first discuss the microbiome profiling studies in various autoimmune disorders, followed by a discussion of potential mechanisms through which microbiome is involved in the pathobiology of diseases. A better understanding of the role of the microbiome in health and disease will help us harness the power of commensal bacteria for the development of novel therapeutic agents to treat autoimmune disorders.

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