Gut microbiota in ALS: possible role in pathogenesis?
McCombe PA., Henderson RD., Lee A., Lee JD., Woodruff TM., Restuadi R., McRae A., Wray NR., Ngo S., Steyn FJ.
Introduction: The gut microbiota has important roles in maintaining human health. The microbiota and its metabolic byproducts could play a role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Areas covered: The authors evaluate the methods of assessing the gut microbiota, and also review how the gut microbiota affects the various physiological functions of the gut. The authors then consider how gut dysbiosis could theoretically affect the pathogenesis of ALS. They present the current evidence regarding the composition of the gut microbiota in ALS and in rodent models of ALS. Finally, the authors review therapies that could improve gut dysbiosis in the context of ALS. Expert opinion: Currently reported studies suggest some instances of gut dysbiosis in ALS patients and mouse models; however, these studies are limited, and more information with well-controlled larger datasets is required to make a definitive judgment about the role of the gut microbiota in ALS pathogenesis. Overall this is an emerging field that is worthy of further investigation. The authors advocate for larger studies using modern metagenomic techniques to address the current knowledge gaps.