Researchers at the NYU school of Medicine and colleagues have found a possible cause for Lupus in the form of pieces of bacteria which escape the intestines.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the patients’ own immune system attacks the tissues of their body. This causes inflammation,
swelling, pain and damage to the person’s body. More than 90% of those suffering from lupus are women between the ages of 15 to 45.
The groups most likely to be hit with this illness are African Americans, Latin Americans, Asians and Native Americans at two to three times greater rates than Caucasians. With these findings, researchers are starting to consider new possibilities in treating lupus.
These include using probiotics or diets to alter the mix of bacterial species in the patients intestines. Researchers looked at the bacteria in stool samples from 61 women with lupus and 17 women who did not have the condition.
Data showed Ruminococcus gnavus, a species of bacteria, was five times more prevalent in patients with lupus. This bacteria was also present in patients who had lupus and chronic kidney disease.
Humans host thousands of bacterial species within their bodies, often allowing for good health. But patients suffering from autoimmune diseases have a unbalanced levels of them, suggesting that certain combinations of bacteria may influence the development of these diseases.
Scientists are exploring the possibility if these bacterial imbalances affect the progress or trigger lupus. The team found these antibodies also target the Ruminococcus gnavus and found those people with lupus had leakier intestines allowing bacteria to escape.
This results in the immune system responding by attacking the patient’s own DNA, mistaking them for molecules made by the bacteria. These attacks can also end up damaging organs such as the kidneys.
For more information about what you can do to keep your body supporting normal kidney function, take a look at some of our past articles about Lupus.