Researchers in NYU Langone’s Division of Rheumatology have authored a study suggesting an imbalance in the gut microbiome of people with lupus may be driving the chronic autoimmune disease as well as its flare-ups. The discovery may lead to better treatments for lupus, which can damage the skin, joints, and organs, says study author Gregg Silverman, MD, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology.
Comparing gut bacteria from people who have lupus with bacteria from their healthy peers, scientists learned that those with lupus had about five times more of the bacteria known as Ruminococcus gnavus.
“Current lupus therapies seek to dampen or destroy the immune system,” Dr. Silverman says. “The idea that we might find in some patients that their disease is being worsened by bacteria in their intestine may mean we find much more benign therapeutic approaches,” he adds.
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