Rapid environmental transition and modern lifestyles are likely driving changes in the biodiversity of the human gut microbiota. With clear effects on physiologic, immunologic, and metabolic processes in human health, aberrations in the gut microbiome and intestinal homeostasis have the capacity for multisystem effects. Changes in microbial composition are implicated in the increasing propensity for a broad range of inflammatory diseases, such as allergic disease, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, and associated noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). There are also suggestive implications for neurodevelopment and mental health. These diverse multisystem influences have sparked interest in strategies that might favorably modulate the gut microbiota to reduce the risk of many NCDs. For example, specific prebiotics promote favorable intestinal colonization, and their fermented products have anti-inflammatory properties. Specific probiotics also have immunomodulatory and metabolic effects. However, when evaluated in clinical trials, the effects are variable, preliminary, or limited in magnitude. Fecal microbiota transplantation is another emerging therapy that regulates inflammation in experimental models. In human subjects it has been successfully used in cases of Clostridium difficile infection and IBD, although controlled trials are lacking for IBD. Here we discuss relationships between gut colonization and inflammatory NCDs and gut microbiota modulation strategies for their treatment and prevention.
Keywords: Fecal microbiota transplantation; gut microbiome; inflammation; noncommunicable diseases; prebiotics; probiotics; short-chain fatty acids.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.