Microbiota

Bacteria fail to teach self-tolerance

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Science  20 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6288, pp. 950
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6288.950-a

Components of the early microbiome in Finnish and Estonian children may impact autoimmunity risk.

CREDIT: JONATHAN SMITH/ALAMY

Differences in gut microbes, particularly early in life, are likely to contribute to a person's susceptibility to autoimmunity. Vatanen et al. explored this phenomenon by comparing the microbiomes of children from Finland, Estonia, and Russia from birth to 3 years old. Russians have lower incidences of autoimmunity than Finns and Estonians, and their microbiomes early in life differed, too, with Finnish and Estonian children harboring larger amounts of Bacteroides species. The primary source of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an immunomodulatory molecule, also differed among the children. Bacteroides-derived LPS, which probably dominates in Finnish and Estonian children, did a poor job of teaching immune cells self-tolerance in cell culture and in mice, suggesting that it may contribute to autoimmune susceptibility in these populations.

Cell 165, 842 (2016).

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