Researcher studying role of gut microbiome on osteoarthritis gets $3M grant

Carly Behm -   Print  |

A researcher at the University of Colorado Denver received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the link between the gut microbiome and osteoarthritis.

Michael Zuscik, PhD, will lead a team of researchers from Colorado University and Aurora, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center to study how a dysbiotic, or imbalanced, gut microbiome causes osteoarthritis, according to an April 2 news release. His team also plans to focus on a strain of microbes called Bifidobacterium pseudolongum as a potential intervention in protecting joints from disease.

Osteoarthritis in obese patients has commonly been associated with mechanical overload on the joints. However, Dr. Zuscik is among researchers who established the idea that obesity-associated arthritis is connected with systemic inflammation, and he connected that to a dysbiotic gut microbiome.

"Our hypothesis is that when you're obese, you have what's called a dysbiotic gut microbiome, and that dysbiosis is disease-causing," Dr. Zuscik said. "It's what leads to this ramping up of systemic inflammation."

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