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Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Feb;33(1):14-25. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2011.10.013. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

A systems biology approach to nutritional immunology - focus on innate immunity.

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Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Innate immunity and nutrient metabolism are complex biological systems that must work in concert to sustain and preserve life. The effector cells of the innate immune system rely on essential nutrients to generate energy, produce metabolic precursors for macromolecule biosynthesis and tune their responses to infectious agents. Thus disruptions to nutritional status have a substantial impact on immune competence and can result in increased susceptibility to infection in the case of nutrient deficiency, or chronic inflammation in the case of over-nutrition. The traditional, reductionist methods used in the study of nutritional immunology are incapable of exploring the extremely complex interactions between nutrient metabolism and innate immunity. Here, we review a relatively new analytical approach, systems biology, and highlight how it can be applied to nutritional immunology to provide a comprehensive view of the mechanisms behind nutritional regulation of the innate immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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