Obesity, gut microbiota, and multiple sclerosis: Unraveling the connection

Amjad Samara, Claudia Cantoni, Laura Piccio, Anne H. Cross, Salim Chahin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Obesity is associated with chronic mild-grade systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation. Obesity in early childhood and adolescence is also a significant risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS) development. However, the underlying mechanisms that explain the link between obesity and MS development are not fully explored. An increasing number of studies call attention to the importance of gut microbiota as a leading environmental risk factor mediating inflammatory central nervous system demyelination, particularly in MS. Obesity and high-calorie diet are also associated with disturbances in gut microbiota. Therefore, gut microbiota alteration is a plausible connection between obesity and the increased risk of MS development. A greater understanding of this connection could provide additional therapeutic opportunities, like dietary interventions, microbiota-derived products, and exogenous antibiotics and probiotics. This review summarizes the current evidence regarding the relationships between MS, obesity, and gut microbiota. We discuss gut microbiota as a potential link between obesity and increased risk for MS. Additional experimental studies and controlled clinical trials targeting gut microbiota are warranted to unravel the possible causal relationship between obesity and increased risk of MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104768
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Gut microbiota
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Obesity


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