Bacterial Triggering of Autoimmunity: The How and Why
With the steady increase in the incidence of virtually every autoimmune disease occurring in the Western industrialized world, and standard treatment still relying mainly on symptom control using overt immune suppressing medications which carry significant side-effects, clinicians are rightly looking for any advantage in the prevention and upstream management of autoimmune disorders1-2. With the concomitant explosion of research into the microbiome, and more specifically the gastrointestinal microbiota (GM), showing linkages betweenspecific aberrant patterns (signatures) of dysbiosis and greater prevalence of specific chronic complex metabolic diseases, including autoimmune conditions, there is a natural desire to understand why these relationships may exist, whether they are simply associations or causal, and what mechanisms may underlie such relationships. This article will review some of the known mechanisms by which bacterial organisms in the GM may contribute to immune dysregulation and potentially the development of an autoimmune disorder in an individual.
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