The gut microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis and bronchiectasis

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Towards functional correlates of microbiota and immune phenotype in rheumatoid arthritis and bronchiectasis.



  • Contact name

    Daniel M Altmann

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Imperial College

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    2 years, 0 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    In recent years there has been a revolution in our understanding of “the human microbiome” – that is, the thousands of different microbial species that live in and on our bodies. It is increasingly believed that some autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) may result from imbalances in the bacterial species present in the gut. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. It is the second most common form of arthritis, affecting 400,000 adults in the UK alone. A recent research paper reported a particular species of bacteria to be more commonly found in stool samples from patients with RA than in healthy control subjects. This study will aim to examine this finding in a larger group of RA patients from the UK to further enhance our understanding of the role of the gut microbiome in RA and also to start to look at the mechanisms behind this relationship, such as how bacterial differences shape differences in a patient’s immune/inflammatory white blood cells. Patients with RA are also at a higher risk of developing certain lung diseases and so this study will also look at the gut/lung microbiome and white blood cell phenotype in a group of patients who have both RA and bronchiectasis. The study has been funded for 2 years by Arthritis Research UK as a Special Strategic Award and aims to recruit RA patients from NHS rheumatology and respiratory clinics. Participants will be asked to donate a stool sample a sputum sample (bronchiectasis patients only) and a blood sample which will be used to study the gut microbiome, lung microbiome and inflammatory white blood cells respectively as well as to complete a short questionnaire giving information about their general health and diet.

  • REC name

    London - Bromley Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    12 May 2017

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion