Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA), the greatest cause of disability in the US. The impact of obesity on OA is driven by systemic inflammation, and increased systemic inflammation is now understood to be caused by gut microbiome dysbiosis. Oligofructose, a nondigestible prebiotic fiber, can restore a lean gut microbial community profile in the context of obesity, suggesting a potentially novel approach to treat the OA of obesity. Here, we report that — compared with the lean murine gut — obesity is associated with loss of beneficial Bifidobacteria, while key proinflammatory species gain in abundance. A downstream systemic inflammatory signature culminates with macrophage migration to the synovium and accelerated knee OA. Oligofructose supplementation restores the lean gut microbiome in obese mice, in part, by supporting key commensal microflora, particularly Bifidobacterium pseudolongum. This is associated with reduced inflammation in the colon, circulation, and knee and protection from OA. This observation of a gut microbiome–OA connection sets the stage for discovery of potentially new OA therapeutics involving strategic manipulation of specific microbial species inhabiting the intestinal space.
Eric M. Schott, Christopher W. Farnsworth, Alex Grier, Jacquelyn A. Lillis, Sarah Soniwala, Gregory H. Dadourian, Richard D. Bell, Madison L. Doolittle, David A. Villani, Hani Awad, John P. Ketz, Fadia Kamal, Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, John M. Ashton, Steven R. Gill, Robert A. Mooney, Michael J. Zuscik
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.