Mait cells and microbiota in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases

Rosella Mechelli, Silvia Romano, Carmela Romano, Emanuele Morena, Maria Chiara Buscarinu, Rachele Bigi, Gianmarco Bellucci, Roberta Reniè, Giulia Pellicciari, Marco Salvetti, Giovanni Ristori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The functions of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in homeostatic conditions include the interaction with the microbiota and its products, the protection of body barriers, and the mounting of a tissue-repair response to injuries or infections. Dysfunction of MAIT cells and dysbiosis occur in common chronic diseases of inflammatory, metabolic, and tumor nature. This review is aimed at analyzing the changes of MAIT cells, as well as of the microbiota, in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders. Common features of dysbiosis in these conditions are the reduced richness of microbial species and the unbalance between pro-inflammatory and immune regulatory components of the gut microbiota. The literature concerning MAIT cells in these disorders is rather complex, and sometimes not consistent. In multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions, several studies have been done, or are in progress, to find correlations between intestinal permeability, dysbiosis, MAIT cell responses, and clinical biomarkers in treated and treatment-naïve patients. The final aims are to explain what activates MAIT cells in diseases not primarily infective, which interactions with the microbiota are potentially pathogenic, and their dynamics related to disease course and disease-modifying treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1132
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Microbiota
  • Mucosal-associated invariant T Cells
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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