Adding to the growing body of scientific evidence pointing to bacteria as a causative agent of rheumatic diseases, a ground-breaking study, led by researchers at Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM), in Philadelphia, was published in the journal, Immunity, on June 16th, 2015. By using mice that are genetically-prone to lupus, the Temple researchers were able to provoke the onset of the disease by manipulating intestinal microbes that thrive and are protected in a sticky substance, called biofilm, and conclude,
“These data provide a mechanism by which the microbiome and biofilm-producing enteric infections may contribute to the progression of SLE…”
In a study review, published in Science Medicine Newsline on July 6th, 2015, a study author, Dr. Gallucci, Associate Chair, Microbiology and Immunology, as well as an Associate Professor in Microbiology and Immunology at TUSM, remarked,
“This work stresses the importance of considering infections as a possible trigger for lupus,” Dr. Gallucci said. “Very little was known about how biofilms interact with the immune system because most of the research has been looking at how biofilms protect bacteria, how they make bacteria resistant to antimicrobials such as antibiotics, but almost nothing was known about what biofilms do to the immune response,” she said.
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