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Microbes Infect. 2000 Sep;2(11):1343-51.

Structure of the intestinal flora responsible for development of the gut immune system in a rodent model.

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  • 1Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research, Yaho 1796, Kunitachi, Tokyo 186-8650, Japan.


The intestinal flora comprising indigenous, autochthonous bacteria is constantly present in the alimentary tract of host animals, including humans. The indigenous bacteria greatly affect the structure and functions of the intestinal mucosa. Studies involving gnotobiotic mice or rats have shown that the presence of limited kinds of intestinal bacteria is responsible for the development of the gut immune system, such as secretory IgA, major histocompatibility complex molecules and intraepithelial lymphocytes. Understanding of the structure of the intestinal flora or the organization of the microbial population in the intestine, based on evaluation of the immunological responses, may clarify its functions in the host animal.

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