Session Type: ACR Concurrent Abstract Session
Session Time: 11:00AM-12:30PM
Background/Purpose: SLE is a complex multifactorial systemic autoimmune disease, which has been attributed to poorly understood interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Recent reports have begun to elucidate how imbalances within intestinal communities of commensal bacteria may lead to triggering of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Our studies are designed to shed light on the interactions of the immune system and the gut microbiome that may contribute to lupus pathogenesis.
Methods: We have assembled a cohort of 60 female SLE patients and matched 20 healthy controls, and biobanked blood and stool samples. DNA was then extracted from fecal bacterial samples, and from sorted endogenous IgA-coated and non-coated bacterial fractions. 16S bacterial rRNA gene sequencing was then performed by illumina NGS technology. Fecal and serum total Igs and autoantibodies were measured by ELISA and by multiplex-bead autoantigen assays.
Results: Our analyses showed that SLE patients have significantly reduced diversity (i.e., number of different taxa) in their gut microbiomes compared to controls (p=0.038). This dysbiosis was treatment independent, with more marked contractions in patients with high disease activity, based on SLEDAI (p=0.002). The distribution of microbiome taxa was more heterogeneous among SLE patients than healthy individuals (p=0.002). Interestingly, patients with the most active disease commonly displayed expansions of genus and species with putative pathobiont properties, with reciprocal contractions of others associated with protective properties (e.g. R. gnavus (p= 0.001) vs. F. prausnitzii (p= 0.022) and B. uniformis (p=0.016). In immunologic surveys, we found that IgA (the most highly produced Ig isotype in the body), was significantly elevated in SLE patients compared to healthy subjects (p<0.002). Only a limited proportion of bacterial taxa are specifically coated by endogenous intestinal IgA. Yet, SLE patients with high disease activity displayed an increased abundance among IgA-coated taxa of Prevotella copri (p= 0.018), a species which has recently been linked to new-onset RA. In addition, intestinal IgA in SLE patients included high levels of antibodies to lupus autoantigens, with the same IgA autoantibody profiles in the matched sera of individual patients.
Conclusion: Our studies document that SLE is associated with a dysbiosis in the gut microbiome with expansions of speciﬁc pathobiont bacteria and reciprocal contractions that may contribute to immune dysregulation. This imbalance was more significant in patients with high disease activity. Certain microbial taxa/species are preferentially recognized by the adaptive immune system of SLE patients and coated in vivo by intestinal IgA, and this correlated with elevated overall levels of fecal and serum IgA. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that the pathogenesis of SLE may arise from imbalances in the gut microbiome and immune recognition of certain bacterial taxa.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Azzouz DF, Getu L, Anquetil C, Buyon JP, Silverman GJ. Intestinal Microbial Dysbiosis in SLE Is Linked to Elevated IgA and Induction of Autoimmunity [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016; 68 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/intestinal-microbial-dysbiosis-in-sle-is-linked-to-elevated-iga-and-induction-of-autoimmunity/. Accessed March 23, 2019.
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