Dysbiosis of gut microbiota exists in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). This problem becomes particularly serious during pregnancy, with a worsening of the disease signs in post-delivery. The group coordinated by Xin M. Luo evaluated the structure of the intestinal microbiota in a mouse model of lupus. The study design was based on the preliminary observation that antibiotic treatment with Vancomycin attenuated the symptoms in naive mice, but had no effect in pregnant and lactating mice.
The situation changed with the oral administration of a probiotic, especially in the postpartum period. More in-depth assessments revealed that this difference was due to the fact that probiotics supplementation inhibited the activity of an enzyme called indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase. In addition, the different production of immunosuppressive Interleukin-10 (IL-10) and pro-inflammatory gamma interferon (IFNγ) between the two populations was recorded and further explained the improvement in symptomatology.