Could one lowly bacterium, Prevotella copri, train the immune system to produce the type of human immune cell (Th17) responsible for inflammation and bone damage in arthritis?
According to a new study, also reported on in Wired, the answer could be yes. Based on some provocative early studies in mice, a team lead by Dan Littman, an Immunologist at New York University, found that the gut microbe Prevotella copri was present in the intestines of 75 percent of the patients they tested that suffered with untreated rheumatoid arthritis. The team also found that feeding mice P copri bacteria resulted in an increase in inflammation.
I found these results interesting in light of other recent studies suggesting that carbohydrate-based diets are associated with increases in Prevotella–enterotypes, while protein and satuated fat-based diets are associated with increases in Bacteroides enterotypes