To compare the composition of intestinal microbiota of patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or fibromyalgia (FM), fecal samples were collected from 51 patients with RA and 50 with FM.
Methods: RA patients fulfilled the RA criteria of the American College of Rheumatology, and duration of their disease was = 6 months. Only nonhospitalized patients from outpatient care were included. Patients having extreme diets or previous disease modifying antirheumatic drug or glucocorticoid medication were excluded, as were those taking antibiotics or having gastroenteritis for at least 2 months prior to sampling.
Fecal bacterial composition was analyzed with a method based on flow cytometry, 16S rRNA hybridization, and DNA-staining. A set of 8 oligonucleotide probes was used.
Results: In comparison to patients with FM, the RA patients had significantly less bifidobacteria and bacteria of the Bacteroides-Porphyromonas-Prevotella group, Bacteroides fragilis subgroup, and Eubacterium rectale - Clostridium coccoides group.
Results from the 8 probes showed a significant overall difference between the 2 patient groups, indicating widespread microbial differences.
Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that intestinal microbes participate in the etiopathogenesis of RA.
Source: Journal of Rheumatology, Jun 2008. [Online first.] PMID: 18528968Vaahtovuo J, Munukka E, Korkeamaki M, Luukkainen R, Toivanan P. Department of Rheumatology, Satakunta Central Hospital, Rauma; CyFlo Ltd., Turku; Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Turku, Finland. [E-mail: email@example.com]