Analysis of the Human Gut Microbiome and Association With Disease

Division of Gastroenterology and Center for Clinical, Epidemiology and Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19104. Electronic address: .
Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (Impact Factor: 6.53). 04/2013; 11(7). DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.03.038
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The human microbiome consist of the composite genome of native flora that have evolved with humanity over millennia and which contains 150-fold more genes than the human genome. A "healthy" microbiome plays an important role in the maintenance of health and prevention of illness, inclusive of autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a prevalent spectrum of disorders, most notably defined by Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), which are associated with considerable suffering, morbidity, and cost. This review presents an outline of the loss of a normal microbiome as an etiology of immune dysregulation and IBD pathogenesis initiation. We, furthermore, summarize the knowledge on the role of a healthy microbiome in terms of its diversity and important functional elements and, lastly, conclude with some of the therapeutic interventions and modalities that are now being explored as potential applications of microbiome-host interactions.
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    ABSTRACT: The pool of microbes inhabiting our body is known as "microbiota" and their collective genomes as "microbiome". The colon is the most densely populated organ in the human body, although other parts, such as the skin, vaginal mucosa, or respiratory tract, also harbour specific microbiota. This microbial community regulates some important metabolic and physiological functions of the host, and drives the maturation of the immune system in early life, contributing to its homeostasis during life. Alterations of the intestinal microbiota can occur by changes in composition (dysbiosis), function, or microbiota-host interactions and they can be directly correlated with several diseases. The only disease in which a clear causal role of a dysbiotic microbiota has been demonstrated is the case of Clostridium difficile infections. Nonetheless, alterations in composition and function of the microbiota have been associated with several gastrointestinal diseases (inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, or irritable bowel syndrome), as well as extra-intestinal pathologies, such as those affecting the liver, or the respiratory tract (e.g., allergy, bronchial asthma, and cystic fibrosis), among others. Species of Bifidobacterium genus are the normal inhabitants of a healthy human gut and alterations in number and composition of their populations is one of the most frequent features present in these diseases. The use of probiotics, including bifidobacteria strains, in preventive medicine to maintain a healthy intestinal function is well documented. Probiotics are also proposed as therapeutic agents for gastrointestinal disorders and other pathologies. The World Gastroenterology Organization recently published potential clinical applications for several probiotic formulations, in which species of lactobacilli are predominant. This review is focused on probiotic preparations containing Bifidobacterium strains, alone or in combination with other bacteria, which have been tested in human clinical studies. In spite of extensive literature on and research into this topic, the degree of scientific evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics is still insufficient in most cases. More effort need to be made to design and conduct accurate human studies demonstrating the efficacy of probiotics in the prevention, alleviation, or treatment of different pathologies.
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    ABSTRACT: The aetiology and pathology of IBS, a functional bowel disorder thought to lack an organic cause, is largely unknown. However, studies suggest that various features, such as altered composition of the gut microbiota, together with increased intestinal permeability, a changed balance in the enteroendocrine system and a dysregulated immune system in the gut, most likely have an important role in IBS. Exactly how these entities act together and give rise to symptoms is still unknown, but an altered gut microbiota composition could lead to dysregulation of the intestinal barrier as well as the enteroendocrine and the immune systems, which (through interactions with the nervous system) might generate symptoms. This Review highlights the crosstalk between the gut microbiota, the enteroendocrine system, the immune system and the role of intestinal permeability in patients with IBS.
    Nature Reviews Gastroenterology &#38 Hepatology 12/2014; DOI:10.1038/nrgastro.2014.200 · 10.81 Impact Factor