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The oral and gut microbiome and their derived metabolites in sex differences in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurologic disease in which patients gradually lose the use of their muscles. This causes problems with mobility, self-care, speech, swallowing and breathing. The disease worsens quickly and usually leads to death within three years of diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is no treatment to alleviate symptoms and extend survival, nor is there a biomarker to confirm the presence of the disease and assess its progression. For unknown reasons, ALS affects males more than females; the age of disease onset is also earlier for males than females.

Interestingly, changes in the bacterial composition in the gut (microbiome) are found in ALS patients. These gut bacteria are also inherently different between sexes, suggesting that they may represent an important factor to explain the disease susceptibility in males. In addition, the gut bacterial composition is influenced by environment and diet, requiring monitoring of these variables. This project aims to identify the bacteria that are associated with sex differences in vulnerability for ALS. Findings will provide insights on how microbiome manipulation can help the development of future treatments for ALS.

This project was selected for funding during the first research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program – Phase II, a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation and the Azrieli Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
48 months
IDRC Officer
Fabiano Santos
Total Funding
CA$ 967,500.00
Global Health
Institution Country
The Governors of The University of Calgary
Institution Country
Koç University