Gut microbiota could be used for early diagnosis and treatment of alopecia areata: Study
China: A recent study in the Journal of Dermatological Science has found the overall gut microbial composition of people with alopecia areata (AA) to be distinct from healthy controls. This implies that gut microbiota plays a role in AA pathogenesis. So, gut microbial markers may potentially be used for earlier AA diagnosis and as therapeutic targets.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that results in sudden hair loss starting with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap. Previous studies have shown the gut microbiota to play a key role in autoimmune diseases. Based on this, Qinping Yang, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, and colleagues aimed to identify and compare the characteristics in the gut microbial composition of patients with alopecia areata (AA) and healthy controls (HCs) in a cross-sectional discovery cohort.
The researchers enrolled 33 patients with AA and 35 HCs from the same geographic location in Shanghai, China. They conducted the 16S rRNA gene sequencing and bioinformatic analyses to analyze DNA extracted from the subjects.
The research yielded the following findings:
- The α-diversity of the AA group demonstrated no statistically significant differences compared with the HC group.
- The overall gut microbial communities in the AA group were distinct from the HCs.
- A random forest model was also adopted to select three AA-associated OTU biomarkers: OTU1237(Achromobacter), OTU257(Megasphaera), and OTU1784(Lachnospiraceae Incertae Sedis).
"Our findings showed that The overall gut microbial composition for AA was distinct from that of HCs," wrote the authors. "The gut microbial markers we identified may potentially be used for earlier diagnosis and as therapeutic targets."
The study titled, "Gut microbiota characterization in Chinese patients with alopecia areata," is published in the Journal of Dermatological Science.