Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 249 (4), 826-31

Biofilms in the Large Bowel Suggest an Apparent Function of the Human Vermiform Appendix

Affiliations
Review

Biofilms in the Large Bowel Suggest an Apparent Function of the Human Vermiform Appendix

R Randal Bollinger et al. J Theor Biol.

Abstract

The human vermiform ("worm-like") appendix is a 5-10cm long and 0.5-1cm wide pouch that extends from the cecum of the large bowel. The architecture of the human appendix is unique among mammals, and few mammals other than humans have an appendix at all. The function of the human appendix has long been a matter of debate, with the structure often considered to be a vestige of evolutionary development despite evidence to the contrary based on comparative primate anatomy. The appendix is thought to have some immune function based on its association with substantial lymphatic tissue, although the specific nature of that putative function is unknown. Based (a) on a recently acquired understanding of immune-mediated biofilm formation by commensal bacteria in the mammalian gut, (b) on biofilm distribution in the large bowel, (c) the association of lymphoid tissue with the appendix, (d) the potential for biofilms to protect and support colonization by commensal bacteria, and (e) on the architecture of the human bowel, we propose that the human appendix is well suited as a "safe house" for commensal bacteria, providing support for bacterial growth and potentially facilitating re-inoculation of the colon in the event that the contents of the intestinal tract are purged following exposure to a pathogen.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 63 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Substances

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback