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      What are the consequences of the disappearing human microbiota?

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      Nature Reviews Microbiology

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Humans and our ancestors have evolved since the most ancient times with a commensal microbiota. The conservation of indicator species in a niche-specific manner across all of the studied human population groups suggests that the microbiota confer conserved benefits on humans. Nevertheless, certain of these organisms have pathogenic properties and, through medical practices and lifestyle changes, their prevalence in human populations is changing, often to an extreme degree. In this Essay, we propose that the disappearance of these ancestral indigenous organisms, which are intimately involved in human physiology, is not entirely beneficial and has consequences that might include post-modern conditions such as obesity and asthma.

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          Most cited references 81

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          A microbial symbiosis factor prevents intestinal inflammatory disease.

          Humans are colonized by multitudes of commensal organisms representing members of five of the six kingdoms of life; however, our gastrointestinal tract provides residence to both beneficial and potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Imbalances in the composition of the bacterial microbiota, known as dysbiosis, are postulated to be a major factor in human disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. We report here that the prominent human symbiont Bacteroides fragilis protects animals from experimental colitis induced by Helicobacter hepaticus, a commensal bacterium with pathogenic potential. This beneficial activity requires a single microbial molecule (polysaccharide A, PSA). In animals harbouring B. fragilis not expressing PSA, H. hepaticus colonization leads to disease and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in colonic tissues. Purified PSA administered to animals is required to suppress pro-inflammatory interleukin-17 production by intestinal immune cells and also inhibits in vitro reactions in cell cultures. Furthermore, PSA protects from inflammatory disease through a functional requirement for interleukin-10-producing CD4+ T cells. These results show that molecules of the bacterial microbiota can mediate the critical balance between health and disease. Harnessing the immunomodulatory capacity of symbiosis factors such as PSA might potentially provide therapeutics for human inflammatory disorders on the basis of entirely novel biological principles.
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            Equilibrium points in n-person games

             J F Nash (1950)
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              Helicobacter pylori infection.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Microbiology
                Nat Rev Microbiol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1740-1526
                1740-1534
                December 2009
                November 9 2009
                December 2009
                : 7
                : 12
                : 887-894
                Article
                10.1038/nrmicro2245
                19898491
                94d329a3-e4f9-479d-b777-85aae278690e
                © 2009

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