Microbial contributions to chronic inflammation and metabolic disease

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Purpose of review

It is long known that immune and metabolic cascades intersect at various cross-points. More recently, the regulatory influence of the microbiota on both of these cascades has emerged. Advances with therapeutic implications for chronic immunologic and metabolic disorders are examined.

Recent findings

Disturbances of the microbiota, particularly in early life, may be the proximate environmental risk factor in socioeconomically developed societies for development of chronic immune-allergic and metabolic disorders, including obesity. Antibiotics and dietary factors contribute to this risk. Multiple microbial signalling molecules mediate host–microbe interactions including bacterial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids, bile salts and others.


New strategies for manipulating the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiota have emerged and offer a realistic prospect of personalized therapeutic options in immune and metabolic diseases.

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