Background: Emerging evidence suggests that dysbiosis, imbalanced gut microbial community, might be a key player in the development of various diseases, including inflammatory arthropathies, such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis (mainly, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis), and osteoarthritis. Yet, the underlying mechanisms and corresponding interactions remain poorly understood. Methods: We conducted a critical and extensive literature review to explore the association between dysbiosis and the development of inflammatory arthropathies. We also reviewed the literature to assess the perspectives that ameliorate inflammatory arthropathies by manipulating the microbiota with probiotics, prebiotics or fecal microbiota transplantation. Results: Some bacterial species (e.g. Prevotella, Citrobacter rodentium, Collinsella aerofaciens, Segmented filamentous bacteria) participate in the creation of the pro-inflammatory immune status, presumably via epitope mimicry, modification of self-antigens, enhanced cell apoptosis mechanisms, and destruction of tight junction proteins and intestinal barrier integrity, all leading to the development and maintainance of inflammatory arthropathies. Whether dysbiosis is an epiphenomenon or is an active driver of these disorders remains unclear, yet, recent observations clearly suggest that dysbiosis precedes and triggers their development implying a causative relationship between dysbiosis and inflammatory arthropathies. The underlying mechanisms include dysbiosis-mediated changes in the functional activity of the intestinal immune cell subsets, such as innate lymphoid cells, mucosa-associated invariant T cells, invariant natural killer T cells, T-follicular helper and T-regulatory cells. In turn, disturbed functionality of the gut-associated immune system is shown to promote the overgrowth of many bacteria, thus establishing a detrimental vicious circle of actively maintaining arthritis. Conclusions: Analysis of the data described in the review supports the notion that a close, dynamic and tightly regulated cross talk between dysbiosis and the gut-associated immune system governs the development of inflammatory arthropathies.
- Rheumatoid arthritis