Therapeutic implications of manipulating and mining the microbiota

J Physiol. 2009 Sep 1;587(Pt 17):4175-9. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.174649. Epub 2009 Jun 8.


The gut microbiota is increasingly recognized as a health asset but occasionally is a contributor to the pathogenesis of both gastrointestinal and certain extra-intestinal disorders. This is driving research interest, the pace of which has been greatly facilitated by new molecular technologies for studying mixed microbial populations, including the non-cultivable sector. In addition, it appears that elements of a modern lifestyle such as diet, domestic hygiene, urbanization, antibiotic usage and family size, may represent proxy markers of environmental influence on the composition of the microbiota colonizing the host in early life. While manipulation of the microbiota has become a therapeutic strategy in certain clinical disorders, the prospect of mining host-microbe-dietary interactions for novel drug discovery may become an even more intriguing reality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Intestinal Diseases / therapy
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Intestines / physiopathology*
  • Metagenome / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*