The average person contains large variations in bacteria from the mouth, the skin, sweat, and in the stomach and intestines. Bacteria hold a special place in our health both as a medical benefit and a medical risk due to their interactions with their microenvironment and host.
The microbiome field has undergone an explosion of research over the past several years due to the development of 16sRNA sequencing, growth of bacterial and metabolite data bases, and the growing interest in the health impacted interactions between the human host and the microbiota. Correlations between bacterial families, clinical phenotype and metabolite measurements are leading to a new understanding of disease and health. These metabolites comprise of a wide host of different molecular types from small polar acids to larger polyamines and lipids.
Microbiota transform proteins, lipids, vitamins, amino acids, sugars and fatty acids into sources of carbon and nitrogen to sustain bacterial needs for energy and biomass. However, these metabolic transformations can be both beneficial and harmful including interactions with the innate and adaptive immune system and brain metabolism. These microbiota / host interactions have been related to a host of medical ailments including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's, and metabolic syndromes.
Lets take a look at some of the links between an individual’s microbiome and an associated phenotype.
J Exp Med. 2019 Jan 7; 216(1): 20–40.
PLoS Pathog. 2019 Sep; 15(9): e1007954. ePub 2019 Sep 5.