Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Eur. J. Immunol. 2023;0:2250236. DOI: 10.1002/eji.202250236


Open access.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressive autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS), with both genetic and environmental factors contributing to the pathobiology of the disease. Although HLA genes have emerged as the strongest genetic factor linked to MS, consensus on the environmental risk factors is lacking. Recently, the gut microbiota has garnered increasing attention as a potential environmental factor in MS, as mounting evidence suggests that individuals with MS exhibit microbial dysbiosis (changes in the gut microbiome). Thus, there has been a strong emphasis on understanding the role of the gut microbiome in the pathobiology of MS, specifically, factors regulating the gut microbiota and the mechanism(s) through which gut microbes may contribute to MS. Among all factors, diet has emerged to have the strongest influence on the composition and function of gut microbiota. As MS patients lack gut bacteria capable of metabolizing dietary phytoestrogen,we will specifically discuss the role of a phytoestrogen diet and phytoestrogen metabolizing gut bacteria in the pathobiology of MS. A better understanding of these mechanisms will help to harness the enormous potential of the gut microbiota as potential therapeutics to treat MS and other autoimmune diseases.