Impact of diet and intestinal microbiota on the gut-CNS axis – implication for CNS autoimmunity


Environmental influences contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of various autoimmune diseases, including MS. In particular, some nutrients and their metabolites have been identified that can either promote inflammatory processes, or exhibit protective effects. Based on our previous data, intestinal myeloid cells act as (first-line) “gatekeepers” of the intestinal immune system. They sense and translate signals from the intestine, i.e., dietary components, gut microbiota and microbial metabolites, into appropriate immune responses. Multiple such intestinal signals then result in either promotion or attenuation of inflammatory states and finally impacting even distant T cell-mediated autoimmune responses in the CNS.
We aim to further understand these key intestinal signals and their triggers to specifically elicit beneficial modulation of inflammatory immune responses in the CNS. To do so, we will evoke a well standardized and targeted modification of the gut environment via the application of specific probiotics in combination with defined, synergistic diets. First, we will characterize the effects of this dietary supplementation on intestinal myeloid cells and their impact on CNS autoimmune responses in the murine system. Second, we will perform a human interventional study to elucidate potential protective effects of the dietary supplementation in relapsing-remitting MS patients. We also aim to study dietary habits in an existing large German cohort of patients with mild/moderate relapsing-remitting MS and correlate the findings with key clinical and MRI markers of MS activity as well as with peripheral immune signatures. Our main question is:

    1. What is the protective effect of probiotic supplementation and a well-defined diet on CNS autoimmune responses?











Principal Investigators:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Luisa Klotz
Klinik für Neurologie mir Institut für Translationale Neurologie

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Detlef Schuppan
Klinik für Neurologie


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