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Targeting gut microbiota and barrier function with prebiotics to alleviate autoimmune manifestations in NOD mice – published online 28/05/2019

Fig from Hansen paper

Camilla H. F. Hansen, Christian S. Larsen, Henriette O. Petersson, Line F. Zachariassen, Andreas Vegge, Charlotte Lauridsen, Witold Kot, Łukasz Krych, Dennis S. Nielsen, Axel K. Hansen

The influence of the intestinal environment on autoimmunity has become very relevant of late. As such, identifying means to target specific microbes and improve intestinal function would be a valuable achievement for future prevention/treatment strategies for dysbiosis. In this issue, Hansen et al (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-019-4910-5) present results that: (1) demonstrate how prebiotic xylooligosaccharides (XOS) can delay diabetes onset and reduce autoimmune reactions towards the pancreatic beta cells and salivary glands in NOD mice; and (2) show that the protective effects offered by XOS were regulated by both microbe-dependent and -independent pathways. The authors suggest that reduced gut permeability and associated induction of anti-inflammatory mucosal immune responses play a central role in protection against autoimmune destruction of beta cells and salivary glands. Considering that many individuals with autoimmunity have dysfunctional barrier function, these findings strongly encourage further testing of the beneficial effects of prebiotics in individuals predisposed to autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes.

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