While there is yet little understood about autoimmune diseases, a Yale University research team has managed to extend our insight a little further. Through experimentation with samples of mice, the team was able to demonstrate how the gut bacteria Enterococcus gallinarum could be translocated into other organs including the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. The resultant antibodies caused inflammations in the target organs, eventually leading to chronic autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune liver disease and systemic lupus.
The researchers have also uncovered that, through vaccination or administration of antibiotics, the autoimmune response can be suppressed to avoid mortality. “The vaccine against E. gallinarum was a specific approach, as vaccinations against other bacteria we investigated did not prevent mortality and autoimmunity,” remarked Martin Kriegel, the senior author. As notable as the study is, the team envisions exploring further into the mechanisms of the gut bacteria.