Over the last few years, scientists have discovered connections between gut microbiota imbalances and various diseases. Now, in a study using mice, biologists from the CNRS, INSERM, and Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University—together with colleagues from the Institut Pasteur de Lille and the NIH (USA)—have revealed a surprising relationship between a viral detection system, the composition of the gut microbiota, and the development of skin allergies. Their findings, published in PNAS (September 24, 2018) suggest potential new therapies.
Researchers finds that mice deprived with of the MAVS gene, which plays a key role in the detection of viruses by the immune system, showed a an altered gut microbiota and severe allergic skin reactions.
These findings shed light on the unexpected role played by an antiviral protein (MAVS) in the maintenance of gut microbiota equilibrium. By showing that changes in the gut microbiota exacerbate the allergic response in the skin, this research sets the stage for the development of new therapies.