Entries in Autoimmune Disease (1)

Tuesday
Dec232014

Novel cures for incurable diseases: Primary sclerosing cholangitis 

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a disease of the bile ducts that causes inflammation and subsequent obstruction of bile ducts both inside and outside of the liver. The inflammation impedes the flow of bile to the gut, which can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer. The underlying cause of the inflammation is believed to be autoimmunity. The only definitive treatment is a liver transplant.

 

Autoimmunity indicates immune responses of an organism against its own cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease. Other prominent examples include multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis ulcerosa, diabetes mellitus type 1, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren's syndrome, Churg-Strauss syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyositis (PM), and dermatomyositis (DM).

 

The intestinal microbiome (the community of your gut bacteria) plays a significant role in the development of autoimmune diseases. The interplay between the intestinal tract and the liver may explain the increased association with autoimmune liver diseases and inflammatory bowel diseases. The gut-liver axis involves multiple inflammatory cell types and cytokines, chemokines and other molecules which lead to the destruction of normal liver architecture. Triggers for the initiation of these events are unclear, but appear to include multiple environmental factors, including pathogenic or even commensal microbial agents. The variation in the gut microbiome has been cited as a major factor in the pathogenesis of autoimmune liver disease and even other autoimmune diseases.

 

With the advent of gut microbiome transplantation, we have a novel and highly promissing therapeutic tool for the prevention of autoimmunity and for the treatment of autoimmune disease.