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J Oral Microbiol. 2012;4. doi: 10.3402/jom.v4i0.9367. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

The gut microbiome: scourge, sentinel or spectator?

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Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The gut microbiota consists of trillions of prokaryotes that reside in the intestinal mucosa. This long-established commensalism indicates that these microbes are an integral part of the eukaryotic host. Recent research findings have implicated the dynamics of microbial function in setting thresholds for many physiological parameters. Conversely, it has been convincingly argued that dysbiosis, representing microbial imbalance, may be an important underlying factor that contributes to a variety of diseases, inside and outside the gut. This review discusses the latest findings, including enterotype classification, changes brought on by dysbiosis, gut inflammation, and metabolic mediators in an attempt to underscore the importance of the gut microbiota for human health. A cautiously optimistic idea is taking hold, invoking the gut microbiota as a medium to track, target and treat a plethora of diseases.


diseases; gut enterotypes; inflammation; metabolism; microbiome

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