Variation in Microbiome LPS Immunogenicity Contributes to Autoimmunity in Humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Aleksandar D. Kostic
  • Eva D'Hennezel
  • Heli Siljander
  • Eric A. Franzosa
  • Moran Yassour
  • Raivo Kolde
  • Hera Vlamakis
  • Timothy D. Arthur
  • Anu Maaria Hämäläinen
  • Aleksandr Peet
  • Vallo Tillmann
  • Raivo Uibo
  • Sergei Mokurov
  • Natalya Dorshakova
  • Jorma Ilonen
  • Suvi M. Virtanen
  • Susanne J. Szabo
  • Jeffrey A. Porter
  • Curtis Huttenhower
  • Dirk Gevers
  • Thomas W. Cullen
  • Mikael Knip
  • Ramnik J. Xavier

Research units

  • Broad Institute
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Novartis USA
  • Tampere University Hospital
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • University of Tartu
  • Russian Ministry of Health
  • Petrozavodsk State University
  • Folkhalsan
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Helsinki University Central Hospital
  • Jorvi Hospital
  • Tartu University Hospital
  • University of Turku
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • National Institute for Health and Welfare
  • Tampere University
  • University of Helsinki
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology


According to the hygiene hypothesis, the increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases in western countries may be explained by changes in early microbial exposure, leading to altered immune maturation. We followed gut microbiome development from birth until age three in 222 infants in Northern Europe, where early-onset autoimmune diseases are common in Finland and Estonia but are less prevalent in Russia. We found that Bacteroides species are lowly abundant in Russians but dominate in Finnish and Estonian infants. Therefore, their lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposures arose primarily from Bacteroides rather than from Escherichia coli, which is a potent innate immune activator. We show that Bacteroides LPS is structurally distinct from E. coli LPS and inhibits innate immune signaling and endotoxin tolerance; furthermore, unlike LPS from E. coli, B. dorei LPS does not decrease incidence of autoimmune diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Early colonization by immunologically silencing microbiota may thus preclude aspects of immune education.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-853
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 3347742