“This is an interesting study identifying a novel exposure to a bacterium that lives in the gut of people. The authors then study exposure to this bacterium in a larger group of MSers and propose it as being a potential MS trigger. It appears that MSers may have a greater exposure to this particular bacterium than controls. Clearly this work will need to be repeated to make sure it is not a one off finding and then the temporal sequence of events will need to be studied. Causation is a complex subject and needs to be carefully considered.”
|Clostridium bacterium: source Wikipedia|
These investigators have isolated Clostridium perfringens type B, an epsilon toxin-secreting bacillus, from a young woman at clinical presentation of MS with actively enhancing lesions on brain MRI. This finding represents the first time that C. perfringens type B has been detected in a human. Epsilon toxin’s tropism for the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and binding to oligodendrocytes/myelin makes it a provocative candidate for nascent lesion formation in MS. They examined a well-characterized population of MSers and healthy controls for carriage of C. perfringens toxinotypes in the gastrointestinal tract. The human commensal Clostridium perfringens type A was present in approximately 50% of healthy human controls compared to only 23% in MS patients. The examined sera and CSF obtained from two tissue banks and found that immunoreactivity to ETX was 10 times more prevalent in people with MS than in healthy controls, indicating prior exposure to ETX in the MS population. C. perfringens epsilon toxin fits mechanistically with nascent MS lesion formation since these lesions are characterized by BBB permeability and oligodendrocyte cell death in the absence of an adaptive immune infiltrate.
Wikipedia: Clostridum perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates, insects, and soil. There are five types of C. perfringens (A, B, C, D and E), which are identified by the main types of toxins they produce (alpha, beta, iota, epsilon and theta). Type A produces alpha toxin, type B produces alpha, beta, epsilon toxins, type C produces beta toxin, Type D produces alpha and epsilon toxin and type E can produce alpha and iota toxin. C. perfringens Type A is the most common C. perfringens type. This dietary bacteria can cause food poisoning and a condition known as gas gangrene in extreme cases.