It’s a fungal world: the mycobiome in pediatric MS

Principal Investigator: Dr. Helen Tremlett

Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Gary Van Domelaar, Dr. Charles Bernstein, Dr. Morag Graham

Affiliation: The University of British Columbia

Year awarded: 2018-2019

Amount Awarded: $50,000 (Pilot Study)

Keywords: gut microbiome, pediatric MS, Fungi

Summary:

  • The gut microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses.
  • The primary focus for researchers when studying the gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis (MS) is looking at bacteria while very little is known about other microorganisms like fungi populating the gut
  • The research team will:
    • Access stool samples from children with and without MS to determine if there are any associations between the gut fungi involved with MS risk or MS disease course

Project Description:

Bugs in the human bowel help digest food, produce vitamins and boost the immune system. They might also influence diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). However, to date, of the various bugs in the bowel, most researchers have only assessed the bacteria. Very little is known about other important microbes, such as fungi. It is only just being realized that fungi may play an important role in diseases such as MS. With this exploratory proposal, Dr. Helen Tremlett and her research team will access a valuable collection of stool samples of children with and without MS to determine if there are associations between the fungi in the bowels of children presenting with MS. Identifying components of the gut fungi involved with MS risk or disease course may facilitate the development of future strategies to ameliorate risk. Although MS is relatively rare in children, these individuals present an opportunity to examine a disease very close to its actual onset. For example, unlike adults with MS, children have had fewer life exposures, such as different diets, medications, infections and so on, narrowing the search for possible triggers of MS. Dr. Tremlett expects the findings from this project will help in the search for the potential cause(s) of MS, as well as factors that might drive or influence the disease in those who already have MS.

Potential Impact: Identifying components of the gut fungi involved with MS risk or disease course may facilitate the development of future strategies to ameliorate risk.

Project Status: In Progress

Open navigation