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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Oct 23;61(42):9977-83. doi: 10.1021/jf402441f. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Effects of the modulation of microbiota on the gastrointestinal immune system and bowel function.

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Group Internal Audit Department, Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd., 4-10-2 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0001, Japan.


The gastrointestinal tract harbors a tremendous number and variety of commensal microbiota. The intestinal mucosa simultaneously absorbs essential nutrients and protects against detrimental antigens or pathogenic microbiota as the first line of defense. Beneficial interactions between the host and microbiota are key requirements for host health. Although the gut microbiota has been previously studied in the context of inflammatory diseases, it has recently become clear that this microbial environment has a beneficial role during normal homeostasis, by modulating the immune system or bowel motor function. Recent studies revealed that microbiota, including their metabolites, modulate key signaling pathways involved in the inflammation of the mucosa or the neurotransmitter system in the gut-brain axis. The underlying molecular mechanisms of host-microbiota interactions are still unclear; however, manipulation of microbiota by probiotics or prebiotics is becoming increasingly recognized as an important therapeutic option, especially for the treatment of the dysfunction or inflammation of the intestinal tract.

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