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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Oct;1842(10):1981-1992. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.05.023. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

Rapidly expanding knowledge on the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands.
2
Department of Genetics, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands; Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
3
Department of Genetics, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands; Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address: a.zhernakova@umcg.nl.

Abstract

The human gut is colonized by a wide diversity of micro-organisms, which are now known to play a key role in the human host by regulating metabolic functions and immune homeostasis. Many studies have indicated that the genomes of our gut microbiota, known as the gut microbiome or our "other genome" could play an important role in immune-related, complex diseases, and growing evidence supports a causal role for gut microbiota in regulating predisposition to diseases. A comprehensive analysis of the human gut microbiome is thus important to unravel the exact mechanisms by which the gut microbiota are involved in health and disease. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing technology, along with the development of metagenomics and bioinformatics tools, have provided opportunities to characterize the microbial communities. Furthermore, studies using germ-free animals have shed light on how the gut microbiota are involved in autoimmunity. In this review we describe the different approaches used to characterize the human microbiome, review current knowledge about the gut microbiome, and discuss the role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Finally, we indicate how this knowledge could be used to improve human health by manipulating the gut microbiota. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: From Genome to Function.

KEYWORDS:

Autoimmunity; Meta-omics; Microbiome; Next-generation sequencing

PMID:
24882755
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.05.023
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