Studying the Enteric Microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Getting through the Growing Pains and Moving Forward

Front Microbiol. 2011 Jul 5:2:144. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00144. eCollection 2011.


In this commentary, we will review some of the early efforts aimed at understanding the role of the enteric microbiota in the causality of inflammatory bowel diseases. By examining these studies and drawing on our own experiences bridging clinical gastroenterology and microbial ecology as part of the NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project (Turnbaugh et al., 2007), we hope to help define some of the "growing pains" that have hampered these initial efforts. It is our sincere hope that this discussion will help advance future efforts in this area by identifying current challenges and limitations and by suggesting strategies to overcome these obstacles.

Keywords: human enteric microbiome; inflammatory bowel diseases; microbial dysbiosis; microbial ecology; new generation DNA sequencing.