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Leading European magazine features LIH microbiome research

Der Spiegel highlights the tremendous potential of LIH research on diet in the management of autoimmune diseases

31 January 2022 3minutes

A comprehensive Perspective, published in the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, attracted the eye of a journalist from Der Spiegel, a leading European magazine. This research is led by Prof Mahesh Desai, Head of the Ecoimmunology and Microbiome research group at the Department of Infection and Immunity of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).
The publication highlights that emerging personalised medicine approaches should embrace diet-assisted microbiome engineering tools to precisely remodel the microbiome towards a disease-resistant, homeostatic state.

Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, boasts a weekly readership of over half a million, the largest in Europe for its format. Its articles cover topics that include world, life and science news, politics and sports. In a recent article, Der Spiegel discusses the merits of research leveraging diet to engineer the gut microbiome in the management of autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In the article, entitled “Angriff durch die Barriere” (‘Attack through the barrier’), Der Spiegel highlights the scientific findings that are bringing hope to people affected by chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases: the discovery of a disrupted microbiome as a culprit, and the potential for its re-modelling to achieve a disease-resistant, homeostatic state. Among the research featured, Prof Desai’s findings of how bacteria from a fibre-depleted and starved gut microbiome start feeding on intestinal mucous was discussed, particularly in terms of how this leads to a pitted intestinal barrier and a potential gateway to pathogens.

The article then calls attention to the conclusions drawn by Erica Grant – a PhD student in the group of Prof Desai – published in the prestigious Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal. The Perspective argues that diet has a direct effect on gut microbiota and refining dietary interventions could have an important impact on patient compliance and disease evolution. Indeed, according to Prof Desai, exploiting forthcoming research to tailor diets according to a patient’s genetic background, microbial composition or function, and other individualized factors, may be leveraged to prolong periods of remission in diseases such as IBD, MS and RA and could be utilized to supplement the existing therapies combatting autoimmune diseases to enhance the therapeutic efficacy.

It is an immense honour to appear in such a prominent magazine. Being featured amongst leading studies on the topic confirms that we are not only on the right track, but leading the race for concrete, innovative findings that are helping to better lives of patients with autoimmune diseases.

commented Prof Desai.

Scientific Contact

  • Mahesh
    PhD, Research Group Leader



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