Digestive Health / Gut microbiota

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Humans And Their Microbiota: A Symbiotic And Mutualistic Relationship

Written on March 25 2012 at 6:23 PM

By Joël Doré

in Digestive Health
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The relationship with our intestinal microbes is symbiotic and mutualistic, the benefits for the host being largely due to the metabolic attributes of the resident bacteria that can derive energy from the fermentation of otherwise indigestible carbohydrates. In humans, this accounts for 6-9% of the total energy requirement whereas this can be as high as 44% for ruminants (McNeil 1984). Additional symbiotic functions include the competitive exclusion of pathogens and the production of essential vitamins and amino acids. The coevolution of mammals with intestinal bacteria had a strong impact on the host immune system, which needed to develop the ability to avoid excessive inflammatory responses to antigens and commensal bacteria while retaining the capacity to defend the body against infections of pathogenic microorganisms. Commensal bacteria are not ignored but dynamically controlled via many complex overlapping and intertwined mechanisms regulating innate defenses in response to signals from the microbiota (Wells 2010; Wells 2011).

The references (in blue) may be found below. 


Posted by:  Joël Doré , PhD


Board member

Research Director at the French Research Institute in Agricultural Sciences, INRA, Dr. Joël Doré is currently President of the Executive Committee of the Pre-Industrial Demonstrator MetaGenoPolis, a platform of excellence dedicated to quantitative and functional metagenomics, funded by the French government Futures Investments. He is Deputy Head of the MICALIS institute “Food and Gut Microbiology for Human Health” and scientific board member of Microbiology Pole of the Doctoral School “Therapeutic Innovations” at Paris-XI University. Joël Doré received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 1988. His main research interest is the molecular assessment of the human intestinal microbiota in health and disease and metagenomic investigation of the molecular cross-talk between intestinal bacteria and human cells. Dr. Doré has published >120 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals. His goal is to provide a better understanding of the intestinal ecosystem in order to support therapeutic choices in the medical area, as well as health claims for functional foods.


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