Microbial origins of chronic diseases

Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:65-82. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182426. Epub 2013 Dec 16.


Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer are among the leading causes of death worldwide and have been on the rise over the past decade. Associations between microbial agents and development of chronic diseases have been made in the past, and new connections are currently being assessed. Investigators are examining the relationship between infectious agents and chronic disease using new technologies with more rigor and specificity. This review examines microbial agents' links to and associations with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, renal diseases, psychiatric disorders, and obesity and addresses the important role of the human microbiome in maintenance of health and its potential role in chronic diseases. These associations and relationships will impact future research priorities, surveillance approaches, treatment strategies, and prevention programs for chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / microbiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Dementia / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / microbiology
  • Microbiota*
  • Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology
  • Public Health