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Findings presented at the EADV 2021 Spring Symposium imply that an imbalance in gut microbiota (dysbiosis), could play a substantial role in the progression of inflammatory skin disease, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). HS is a painful, long-term skin condition, with a chronic and relapsing nature that significantly impacts patients’ quality of life.
Researchers at Hacettepe University gathered faucal samples from 15 patients with HS and 15 age and sex matched healthy people and analyzed regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to investigate differences in their gut microbiota. Researchers found that the relative abundance of three genera of bacteria (known collectively as Firmicutes), unclassified Clostridiales, unclassified Firmicutes and Fusicatenibacter in HS patients were significantly lower compared to that in controls (p = 0.005, p = 0.029, and p = 0.046, respectively). Reduced amounts of these bacteria are known to disrupt the regulatory balance inside the gut and stimulate an inflammatory response.
The human gastrointestinal tract is occupied with a vast array of bacterial organisms, known collectively as the gut microbiome. Studies have increasingly demonstrated the gut microbiome and skin are intrinsically connected, offering defence against pathogens in the environment. This relationship is known as the’gut-skin axis’ and has been associated with many inflammatory and autoimmune skin disorders, such as acne and psoriasis. This connection motivated the researchers to describe the composition of HS patients’ intestinal microbiome, hypothesizing that imbalance may play a role in the elevated inflammatory burden of this condition. HS is a multifactorial disease caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Obesity and smoking can significantly exacerbate symptoms, and both of them have an impact on the gut microbiome.
Gut microbiota plays a vital role in human health through development of the immune response, controlled by specific pathways as well as the products of metabolism, also called short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Bacteria in the gut (such as Firmicutes) produce these SCFAs that ensure a balance between immune cells that stimulate or suppress an inflammatory reaction is maintained. Any disruption to this balance, according to the reduced abundance of these organisms in the gut microbiome of HS patients, may induce an unwanted inflammatory reaction.
Further research is needed to further understand and explain the connections between the gut microbiota and excessive inflammatory state in HS patients.
As one of the preliminary studies investigating HS, this pioneering research lays the foundation for future research into the management of this debilitating condition. It is an exciting breakthrough in a topic currently at the forefront of scientific research.”
Marie-Aleth Richard, EADV Board Member and Professor, University Hospital of La Timone, Marseille
EADV Spring Symposium 2021