Lupus Linked to Changes in Gut Bacteria
In a recent analysis of multiple lupus studies, researchers found that people with lupus have notable differences in their gut microbiomes compared to healthy individuals. The gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that live in the human digestive tract, and recent research has found it plays a role in the development and regulation of the immune system.
Researchers reviewed and analyzed the results of 11 different studies across nine different cities around the world, each looking at the gut microbiome characteristics of people with lupus compared to healthy control groups. Overall, the researchers found those with lupus had imbalances in their gut bacteria, with a decrease in beneficial bacteria and an increase in harmful ones.
They also found medications played a role in the diversity and abundance of gut bacteria. People with lupus who took hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) or high doses of glucocorticoids (a type of steroid drug, like prednisone) were more likely to have imbalances in the makeup of their gut microbiomes.
While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between lupus and the gut microbiome, these important findings will help guide future studies. Learn more about lupus and the digestive system.
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