MAP (Microbiome Assessment Project) in ALS

Research Summary

There is growing interest in how the interplay between the intestinal microbiota (i.e., bacteria in the gut) and its host influence the onset and course of neurodegenerative diseases, potentially mediated by immune mechanisms which modulate the microglial environment. No studies have previously examined whether the overall composition of the intestinal microbiota, or specific bacterial species, are associated with ALS. In this pilot study, the intestinal microbiota of 100 people with ALS and 100 healthy controls will be compared. The role of this project is to develop preliminary data as to whether the intestinal microbiota is associated with ALS risk or progression rate and is involved in ALS etiology. This study will use novel technology and is a collaboration project among the Harvard School of Public Health, Broad Institute, and the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, involving leading epidemiologists, microbiome analysts, and ALS clinical researchers. This project is co-funded by ALS Finding a Cure and a private donor.