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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017 Oct;15(10):630-638. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.58. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

The resilience of the intestinal microbiota influences health and disease.

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Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian Albrechts University and University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Rosalind-Franklin-Stra├če 12, 24105 Kiel, Germany.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute, KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium; at the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), Center for Microbiology, Leuven 3000, Belgium; and at the Department of Bioengineering Sciences, Research Group of Microbiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels 1050, Belgium.


The composition of the intestinal microbiota varies among individuals and throughout development, and is dependent on host and environmental factors. However, although the microbiota is constantly exposed to environmental challenges, its composition and function in an individual are stable against perturbations, as microbial communities are resilient and resistant to change. The maintenance of a beneficial microbiota requires a homeostatic equilibrium within microbial communities, and also between the microorganisms and the intestinal interface of the host. The resilience of the healthy microbiota protects us from dysbiosis-related diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or metabolic disorder. By contrast, a resilient dysbiotic microbiota may cause disease. In this Opinion article, we propose that microbial resilience has a key role in health and disease. We will discuss the concepts and mechanisms of microbial resilience against dietary, antibiotic or bacteriotherapy-induced perturbations and the implications for human health.

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