Incorporating short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) is a safe and potent add-on therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS).
The gut microbiome as well as dietary habits have recently been established as environmental contributors to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS).
To summarize recent findings on the Janus-faced effects of dietary short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) on T-cell immunity with a special focus on the gut and the microbiome as an interface linking diet and T-cell responses during MS.
The autoimmune basis of MS most likely stems from an imbalance between pro-inflammatory T helper cell (Th)1 and Th17 cells and anti-inflammatory or regulatory mechanisms including regulatory T cells (Treg). Hence, the rationale of currently available therapeutic interventions is to either suppress pathogenic Th1/Th17 and/or to foster Treg responses. Dietary fatty acids are often discussed for their detrimental role in MS. However, recent studies investigating saturated fatty acids in animal models of MS revealed harmful as well as beneficial effects depending on their aliphatic chain length.
Dietary SCFAs constitute interesting candidates as safe and potent add-on therapy in the immunomodulatory treatment armamentarium for relapsing-remitting MS.