The Host Microbiome Regulates and Maintains Human Health: A Primer and Perspective for Non-Microbiologists.


Journal Article (Review)

Humans consider themselves discrete autonomous organisms, but recent research is rapidly strengthening the appreciation that associated microorganisms make essential contributions to human health and well being. Each person is inhabited and also surrounded by his/her own signature microbial cloud. A low diversity of microorganisms is associated with a plethora of diseases, including allergy, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, an interaction of microorganisms with the host immune system is required for a healthy body. Exposure to microorganisms from the moment we are born and appropriate microbiome assembly during childhood are essential for establishing an active immune system necessary to prevent disease later in life. Exposure to microorganisms educates the immune system, induces adaptive immunity, and initiates memory B and T cells that are essential to combat various pathogens. The correct microbial-based education of immune cells may be critical in preventing the development of autoimmune diseases and cancer. This review provides a broad overview of the importance of the host microbiome and accumulating knowledge of how it regulates and maintains a healthy human system. Cancer Res; 77(8); 1783-812. ©2017 AACR.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Thomas, S; Izard, J; Walsh, E; Batich, K; Chongsathidkiet, P; Clarke, G; Sela, DA; Muller, AJ; Mullin, JM; Albert, K; Gilligan, JP; DiGuilio, K; Dilbarova, R; Alexander, W; Prendergast, GC

Published Date

  • April 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1783 - 1812

PubMed ID

  • 28292977

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28292977

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-7445

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0008-5472

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2929


  • eng