Finding connections between the microbiome, the metabolome, and the immune system

Microbes in the gut produce a huge range of metabolites, which affect various processes in the host. Knowledge about the metabolome is limited by current experimental and computational tools, but even now, interconnections are emerging between the microbiome, the metabolome, and immunological reponses — for instance, the possible role of metabolites in immune system pattern recognition.

In this Immunity Perspective piece, Dorrestein, Mazmanian, and Knight describe a research pipeline for identifying new connections, noting that studies will be complicated by the bidirectional connections between the microbiome and the immune system. They emphasize that this research will have important implications for human disease.


Dorrestein PC, Mazmanian SK, & Knight R. (2014) Finding the Missing Links among Metabolites, Microbes, and the Host. Immunity DOI:

Paul Enck
Paul Enck
Prof. Dr. Paul Enck, Director of Research, Dept. of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany. His main interests are gut functions in health and disease, including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders, the role of the gut microbiota, regulation of eating and food intake and its disorders, of nausea, vomiting and motion sickness, and the psychophysiology and neurobiology of the placebo response, with specific emphasis on age and gender contributions. He has published more than 170 original data paper in scientific, peer-reviewed journals, and more than 250 book chapters and review articles. He is board member/treasurer of the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility and of the German Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, and has served as reviewer for many international journals and grant agencies.