Is the gut microbiome a potential cause and therapeutic target for autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis?

August 07, 2014

Numerous risk factors are believed to contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and new research is focusing on the role that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract as well as other cell stress-related chemical signals could have in stimulating inflammation in the central nervous system and activating immunostimulatory cytokines. Two comprehensive Review articles are part of a focus on "Cytokines in Neuroinflammation and Immunity" in a special issue of Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research (JICR), a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The articles are available free on the JICRwebsite.

Kiel Telesford and Lloyd Kasper, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University (Lebanon, NH) and Javier Ochoa-Repáraz, University of California-Santa Barbara, describe three key characteristics of the gut microbiome related to immune cell activity and cytokine production that may be relevant to susceptibility to and treatment of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis. In the article "Gut Commensalism, Cytokines, and Central Nervous System Demyelination," the authors note that our understanding of the biology of the gut microbiome and the immunoregulatory potential of bacteria and parasites in the gut is still in its infancy.

In the Review article "Interferons, Signal Transduction Pathways, and the Central Nervous System," Shreeram Nallar and Dhan Kalvakolanu, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, explore in detail the latest research pointing to the role of cytokines, and in particular interferons, in contributing to the development of diseases affecting the central nervous system. The authors discuss the potential effects of either an excess or lack of interferons, the inflammatory effects of cytokines, and new therapeutic research strategies.

"The communications between the microbial community in the gut and the host immune system is turning out to be remarkably complex and is likely to impact on many aspects of both health and disease," says Editor-in-Chief Thomas A. Hamilton, PhD, Chairman, Department of Immunology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio.
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About the Journal

Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research (JICR), led by Editors-in-Chief Ganes C. Sen, PhD, Chairman, Department of Molecular Genetics, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, and Thomas A. Hamilton, PhD, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options and in print that covers all aspects of interferons and cytokines from basic science to clinical applications. JICR, celebrating 35 years of publication in 2015, is an official journal of the International Cytokine & Interferon Society. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the JICRwebsite.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Viral Immunology, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, and DNA and Cell Biology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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