Compositional and functional features of the gastrointestinal microbiome and their effects on human health

Gastroenterology. 2014 May;146(6):1449-58. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2014.01.052. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


The human gastrointestinal tract contains distinct microbial communities that differ in composition and function based on their location, as well as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and diet of their host. We describe the bacterial taxa present in different locations of the GI tract, and their specific metabolic features. The distinct features of these specific microbial communities might affect human health and disease. Several bacterial taxa and metabolic modules (biochemical functions) have been associated with human health and the absence of disease. Core features of the healthy microbiome might be defined and targeted to prevent disease and optimize human health.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal; HMP; Lumen; Metagenomics; Microbe; Mucosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Risk Factors