B-cell-depletion reverses dysbiosis of the microbiome in multiple sclerosis patients.

Alba Troci, Olga Zimmermann, Daniela Esser, Paula Krampitz, Sandra May, Andre Franke, Daniela Berg, Frank Leypoldt, Klarissa Hanja Stürner, Corinna Bang
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Scientific Reports
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To elucidate cross-sectional patterns and longitudinal changes of oral and stool microbiota in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and the effect of B-cell depletion. We conducted an observational, longitudinal clinical cohort study analysing four timepoints over 12 months in 36 MS patients, of whom 22 initiated B-cell depleting therapy with ocrelizumab and a healthy control group. For microbiota analysis of the oral cavity and the gut, provided stool and oral swab samples underwent 16S rDNA sequencing and subsequent bioinformatic analyses. Oral microbiota-patterns exhibited a reduced alpha-diversity and unique differential microbiota changes compared to stool such as increased levels of Proteobacteria and decreased abundance of Actinobacteria. Following B-cell depletion, we observed increased alpha-diversity in the gut and the oral cavity as well as a long-term sustained reduction of pro-inflammatory Gram-negative bacteria (e.g., Escherichia/Shigella). MS patients have altered stool and oral microbiota diversity patterns compared to healthy controls, which are most pronounced in patients with higher disease activity and disability. Therapeutic B-cell depletion is associated with persisting regression of these changes. Whether these microbial changes are unspecific side-effects of B-cell depletion or indirectly modulate MS disease activity and progression is currently unknown and necessitates further investigations.