Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29631890
C. R. Biol. 2018 May - Jun;341(5):281-283
The intestinal microbiota is essential for digestion, the production of physiological metabolites, and defense. More than 10 bacteria are present in the intestine, inspiring awe as well as fear of potential infections. By definition, the immune system protects us from infection, and is given the task to recognize dangerous pathogens from useful mutualists. Nevertheless, the definition of pathogens and mutualists is often contextual, and the immune system reacts to all types of microbes. In fact, immune reactivity to microbiota is necessary for the development of the immune system. If the host-microbe cross-talk is perturbed before birth or weaning, the immune system develops “pathological imprinting” and increased susceptibility to inflammatory pathology later in life. Reactivity to microbiota is also important in adulthood to regulate immune responses and maintain homeostasis.