Diet, gut microbes, and genetics in immune function: can we leverage our current knowledge to achieve better outcomes in inflammatory bowel diseases?

Curr Opin Immunol. 2014 Dec;31:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2014.08.004. Epub 2014 Sep 15.


Autoimmune disorders, particularly inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), are increasing at an alarming frequency. While the exact cause remains elusive, studies have examined how the immune system is shaped in the context of genetic susceptibility, gut microbes, and environmental pressures, including dietary intake. Shifts towards a Westernized high fat, high carbohydrate diet result in changes to gut microbiota structure and function that may aid in triggering and perpetuating autoimmunity by promoting the emergence of pathobionts leading to altered immune activation. This review summarizes our current understanding of dietary-induced changes in gut microbiota on autoimmunity in the context of IBD. We provide a framework for leveraging this knowledge to develop new dietary, microbial and immune-based modulation strategies for individualized risk assessment and improving clinical outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / microbiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / pathology
  • Intestines* / immunology
  • Intestines* / microbiology
  • Intestines* / pathology
  • Microbiota / immunology*