Update on the Gastrointestinal Microbiome in Systemic Sclerosis

Chiara Bellocchi, Elizabeth R. Volkmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Accumulating evidence suggests that gut microbiota affect the development and function of the immune system and may play a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent studies reporting gastrointestinal microbiota aberrations associated with the systemic sclerosis disease state. Recent Findings: The studies described herein have identified common changes in gut microbial composition. Specifically, patients with SSc have decreased abundance of beneficial commensal genera (e.g., Faecalibacterium, Clostridium, and Bacteroides) and increased abundance of pathobiont genera (e.g., Fusobacterium, Prevotella, Erwinia). In addition, some studies have linked specific genera with the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms in systemic sclerosis. Summary: More research is needed to further characterize the gastrointestinal microbiota in systemic sclerosis and understand how microbiota perturbations can affect inflammation, fibrosis, and clinical outcomes. Interventional studies aimed at addressing/correcting these perturbations, either through dietary modification, pro/pre-biotic supplementation, or fecal transplantation, may lead to improved outcomes for patients with systemic sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalCurrent Rheumatology Reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Gastrointestinal involvement
  • Immune system
  • Microbiota
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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