Search Close Search
Page Menu

The microbiome and immune function

Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergy, asthma, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes are associated with drastic changes in patient microbiomes. In some cases, these changes are thought to contribute to or trigger the disease. For example, people with inflammatory bowel disease are thought to have pre-existing genetic risk factors that are triggered by environmental factors, leading to full-blown disease. An imbalance in the makeup of the intestinal bacteria may be one of these environmental triggers. Similarly, recent studies in mice have shown that the development of diabetes is affected by the presence of bacteria in the intestine. This is an especially interesting finding, because it suggests that intestinal bacterial colonization can have important effects on inflammation at sites far away from the intestine.