Many compare the gut microbiota to a hidden organ that even has a much larger genetic variety than the genome of the host. The microbiota colonized in the gastrointestinal tract composes of an abundant and diverse population of microbes including bacteria, viruses, and microbial eukaryotes. The gut microbiota systemically integrates into the host biology and plays an instrumental role in the homeostasis of the host by bidirectionally affecting physiological processes across the many 'axes' that gut microbiota allies with different organs and systems, these various processes include immune modulation, neurotransmitter regulation, hormones secretion and regulation, and the production of many antioxidants and metabolites. Under normal conditions, the gut microbiota is non-pathological and help the host body maintain homeostasis, and in addition to metabolic benefits, symbiotic bacteria benefit the host with various functions like inhibiting the colonization by other pathogenic microorganisms, while the dysbiosis can result in miscellaneous pathological conditions.
Figure 1. The commensal homeostasis of gut microbiota-host under the intervention. (Zhang 2018)
Our knowledge about the intrinsic mechanisms of the gut microbiota-host interaction and potential therapeutic options for gut microbiota-associated diseases are just starting to take shape, and the current multi-omics era promises rapid progress at the global level towards these research topics.
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1. Zhang P; et al. Commensal Homeostasis of Gut Microbiota-Host for the Impact of Obesity. Frontiers in Physiology. 2018, 8:1122.
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