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Semin Immunol. 2013 Nov 30;25(5):334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

Dysbiosis--a consequence of Paneth cell dysfunction.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, United States. Electronic address:


The complex community of colonizing microbes inhabiting the mucosal surfaces of mammals is vital to homeostasis and normal physiology in the host. When the composition of this microbiota is unfavorably altered, termed dysbiosis, the host is rendered more susceptible to a variety of chronic diseases. In the mammalian small intestine, specialized secretory epithelial cells, named Paneth cells, produce a variety of secreted antimicrobial peptides that fundamentally influence the composition of the microbiota. Recent investigations have identified numerous genetic and environmental factors that can disrupt normal Paneth cell function, resulting in compromised antimicrobial peptide secretion and consequent dysbiosis. These findings suggest that Paneth cell dysfunction should be considered a common cause of dysbiosis.


Antimicrobial peptides; Defensins; Dysbiosis; Microbiota; Paneth cell

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