Intermittent fasting confers protection in CNS autoimmunity by altering the gut microbiota

The effects of intermittent fasting on protection in CNS autoimmunity.

JUNE 5, 2018

Written by Francesca Cignarella, Claudia Cantoni, Laura Ghezzi, Amber Salter, Yair Dorsett, Lei Chen, Luigi Fontana, George M. Weinstock, Anne H. Cross, Yanjiao Zhou, Laura Piccio

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more common in western countries with diet being a potential contributing factor. Here we show that intermittent fasting (IF) ameliorated clinical course and pathology of the MS model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). IF led to increased gut bacteria richness, enrichment of the Lactobacillaceae, Bacteroidaceae, and Prevotellaceae families and enhanced antioxidative microbial metabolic pathways. IF altered T cells in the gut with a reduction of IL-17 producing T cells and an increase in regulatory T cells. Fecal microbiome transplantation from mice on IF ameliorated EAE in immunized recipient mice on a normal diet, suggesting that IF effects are at least partially mediated by the gut flora. In a pilot clinical trial in MS patients, intermittent energy restriction altered blood adipokines and the gut flora resembling protective changes observed in mice. In conclusion, IF has potent immunomodulatory effects that are at least partially mediated by the gut microbiome.



Intermittent fasting (IF) confers protection in the multiple sclerosis animal model through effects on the gut microbiota, with similar changes to gut microbiota observed in relapsing MS patients undergoing short-term IF.