Gut bacteria’s association with the symptoms of MS?

Dr Wolfgang Marx

Deakin University

| Causes and Prevention | Immunology | Incubator | 2018 | Investigator Led Research |


This project is investigating the gut microbiome or the overall composition of bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. Changes in gut bacteria have been suggested to contribute to the progression of MS and enhancement of MS symptoms. Since the bacterial composition might be modifiable, it is vitally important to determine its contribution to MS.

This study will investigate the gut bacteria of people with MS who are undertaking an existing clinical trial. The trial is a 16-week trial testing the effects of dietary supplements on depression and fatigue in MS. Dr Marx and his team will be looking at the gut bacteria of 150 people with MS who are participating in the trial to examine whether there are any changes to their gut bacteria during the trial and whether the composition of the gut bacteria influences the clinical severity or progression of their disease.

Progress to Date

After COVID-19 restrictions led to significant delays in study recruitment, 2022 has been dedicated to data collection and the wider clinical trial. Currently, six major MS clinics are involved in the study and 65 participants are currently enrolled, about half of the intended study population. Collection of microbiome samples is well underway, and this coming year will see processing of the gut microbiome samples and collection of food diaries. The study team has also gained skills in remote data collection as a result of the pandemic, which will greatly enhance recruiting going forward. The next 12 months will be an exciting time in the study timeline, and we look forward to the next progress report in 2023.

Updated: 31 March 2022

Updated: 02 January, 2018


  • Dr Wolfgang Marx, Deakin University


  • Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
  • Professor Robyn Lucas, Australian National University
  • Professor Mimi Tang, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Grant Awarded

  • Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $24,110


  • 6 years

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Gut bacteria’s association with the symptoms of MS?