Cross-Talk: Microbiome & Immune System Balance
The human intestinal microbiome acts as a signalling hub that integrates environmental inputs, such as diet and lifestyle, with our genetic and metabolic pathways. Its impacts are widespread across host systems, including the immune system,1 which is capable of adapting and responding to a wide range of challenges. How does the microbiome interact with the immune system, and how do these interactions help determine a state of health or disease in the body?
Reciprocal cross-talk between the microbiome and cells in the intestinal mucosal immune system is well-documented. We now understand that this cross-talk is important for immune system maturation and modulation across all developmental stages; studies of germ-free mice demonstrate that a lack of gut microbiota leads to significant immune deficiency. Maintaining a homeostatic balance between microbial activity and host immune response toward the microbiota is what allows the immune system to function appropriately to defend against infection yet also demonstrate appropriate tolerance.
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