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Tracing Arthritis to Bugs in the Gut?

The inflamed joints and systemic inflammation characteristic of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been linked with an altered pattern of gut microbial colonization, suggesting a new explanation for autoimmunity and having potential implications for treatment, researchers reported.

Using shotgun gene sequencing, a group of researchers led by Dan L. Littman, MD, PhD, of New York University found that 75% of patients with new-onset, untreated RA had a distinct predominance of intestinal microbiota, with an expansion of pro-inflammatory Prevotella copri.

In contrast, that pattern was only seen in 11.5% of patients with longstanding RA (P
 
 

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