The host microbiome regulates and maintains human health: A primer and perspective for non-microbiologists

Sunil Thomas, Jacques Izard, Emily Walsh, Kristen Batich, Pakawat Chongsathidkiet, Gerard Clarke, David A. Sela, Alexander J. Muller, James M. Mullin, Korin Albert, John P. Gilligan, Katherine DiGuilio, Rima Dilbarova, Walker Alexander, George C. Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations

Abstract

Humans consider themselves discrete autonomous organisms, but recent research is rapidly strengthening the appreciation that associated microorganisms make essential contributions to human health and well being. Each person is inhabited and also surrounded by his/her own signature microbial cloud. A low diversity of microorganisms is associated with a plethora of diseases, including allergy, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, an interaction of microorganisms with the host immune system is required for a healthy body. Exposure to microorganisms from themoment we are born and appropriate microbiome assembly during childhood are essential for establishing an active immune system necessary to prevent disease later in life. Exposure to microorganisms educates the immune system, induces adaptive immunity, and initiates memory B and T cells that are essential to combat various pathogens. The correct microbial-based education of immune cells may be critical in preventing the development of autoimmune diseases and cancer. This review provides a broad overview of the importance of the host microbiome and accumulating knowledge of how it regulates and maintains a healthy human system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1783-1812
Number of pages30
JournalCancer Research
Volume77
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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