The key to decreasing eye inflammation may lie within the gut. 70% of the immune system in humans is contained within the gastrointestinal tract where it meshes with the gut microbome.

The gut microbome is an intricate ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast. Researchers are just beginning to understand how the gut microbome works and the impact it has on immune health.

Untreated, chronic non-infectious uveitis can lead to vision loss and total blindness. This condition is a form of eye inflammation and current therapies include the use of corticosteroids, which can cause serious side effects including cataracts and glaucoma.

Researchers have determined a connection in animal models between the gut and the eyes. They have found that the severity of inflammation from uveitis is in part due to a reduction in regulatory T-cells in the gut. These T-cells help prevent inflammation. When researchers treated the animal subjects with either short-chain fatty acids or oral antibiotics, the number of T-cells in the gut was increased along with the intestinal permeability and structure resulting in decreased inflammation of the eyes.

With the success of the initial animal studies, research will continue to try and determine how intestinal microbes and the immune system can be restored to equilibrium to reduce inflammation in the eyes.


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