Researchers identify the potential etiogenic role of Prevotella copri in triggering rheumatoid arthritis

Certain previous research findings have noted the presence of high levels of Prevotella copri (Pc), a gut bacterium that helps in the digestion of dietary fiber, in RA patients. A recent study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology has noted significantly higher levels of IgA anti-Pc-p27 antibodies in RA patients and those with elevated risk for developing the disease.

The study carried out by Jennifer A. Seifert and co-workers observed that median values of IgA anti-Pc-p27 antibodies were significantly higher in subjects with established RA as opposed to match control. In addition, the researchers noted that the antibody levels were significantly higher in subjects with CCP+/RF+ positivity. The findings underscore the potential etiologic role of this microorganism in the preclinical evolution of RA and the subsequent development of synovitis. The researchers speculate that Prevotella species might be invading the gut and entering the bloodstream, thereby triggering an immune response.

A 2013 mice model study by Scher et al. has shown that the presence of Prevotella copri is strongly associated with new-onset untreated rheumatoid arthritis (NORA). They also found unique Prevotella genes that are linked to the disease and the potential of P. copri to dominate the intestinal microbiota, which subsequently increased the sensitivity to chemically induced colitis. A 2019 study by Alpizar-Rodriguez has also observed Prevotella spp. enrichment in subjects with pre-clinical stages of RA, thereby suggesting the potential role of the microorganism in causing intestinal dysbiosis associated with RA.

The present study findings may help in further elucidating the potential role of this bacterial commensal in causing RA and developing targeted therapies.


Seifert JA, Bemis EA, Ramsden K, Lowell C, Polinski K, Feser M, et al. Association of antibodies to Prevotella copri in anti-CCP-positive individuals at-risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis and in those with early or established rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2022 Oct 19.

Alpizar-Rodriguez D, Lesker TR, Gronow A, Gilbert B, Raemy E, Lamacchia C, Gabay C, Finckh A, Strowig T. Prevotella copri in individuals at risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2019 May;78(5):590-593.

Scher JU, Sczesnak A, Longman RS, Segata N, Ubeda C, Bielski C, Rostron T, Cerundolo V, Pamer EG, Abramson SB, Huttenhower C, Littman DR. Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis. Elife. 2013 Nov 5;2:e01202