13 Dec 2022


The Human Microbiome: What You Need to Know

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In their paper, Scher et al. (2007) talk about Prevotella copri and how its increased expansion makes one susceptible to arthritis. Prevotella is a human microbiome that is categorised as a gram-negative bacteria. It has anaerobic cells that are rod-shaped and optimally functions at 37 degree Celsius. It mostly affects the human intestines and gut. Arthritis, on the other hand, is a human condition that results in the inflammation of body parts, specifically joints (Macon & Reed-Guy, 2015). Multiple joints can be affected at the same time, or the infection can be on a single joint. Arthritis comes in different types. There are over 100 of them which are caused by different microorganisms and are as well treated differently (Macon & Reed-Guy, 2015). This paper looks at Prevotella and how it influences the spread of arthritis as Scher et al. (2007) explain in their article. 

To determine whether Prevotella had an influence on the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, Scher et al. (2007) went ahead to conduct a study. They collected faecal DNA samples: 44 from NORA patients just after diagnosis and before treatment, 26 from patients with rheumatoid arthritis but who were on treatment, 16 from individuals with psoriatic arthritis, and 28 from healthy controls. They performed the 16S gene sequencing on the samples collected where they used the MOTHUR. 

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In their findings, Scher et al. (2007) identified that 75% of the patients from NORA were carriers of Prevotella. This accounted for 33 out of the 44 samples obtained from NORA. On the other hand, 21.4% of the healthy control samples were found to have the microbiome too. This accounted for 6 out of 28 of the samples collected. This showed that there was a prevalence of the microbiome in people who were diagnosed with the infection and were not treated as compared to the healthy individuals. It was also found out that most of the individuals lost the microbiome after treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. One out of 10 people were found to have Prevotella in their system still. 

With this findings, it indicates that the Prevotella seems to have had a direct influence on the spread of arthritis. It is not coincidental that before treatment individuals with the infection depict high numbers of having the microbiome in their system. Significantly, once the human condition was treated, it was found that the Prevotella disappeared too. This shows that there is some interrelation between the disease and the microbiome. Though there are no identified causes of arthritis, Prevotella copri might just be one of them due to its prevalence in infected individuals. This, therefore, implies that Prevotella copri in humans should be limited. Once a person has been found to carry the infection with them, urgent treatment should be prescribed to avoid them from developing arthritis which is chronic in nature. 


Macon, B. L. & Reed-Guy, L. (2015). Arthritis. Healthline . Retrieved on 6 March 2017 from http://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis#Overview1. 

Scher, J. U; A. Sczesnak, R. S. Longman; N. Segata; C. Ubeda; C. Bielski; T. Rostron; V. Cerundulo; E. G. Pamer; S. B. Abramson; C. Huttenhower; D. R. Littman. (2013). Expansion of Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis. eLife , 2, e01202. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). The Human Microbiome: What You Need to Know .


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