The bacteria living in our intestinal tract, the gut microbiota, play a key role in our health. It accomplishes different functions and stimulates the development and maintenance of the intestinal immune system that protects us from being affected by environmental pathogens that sometimes enter the body. A video animation released by Nature featuring the expertise of world-renowned immunologist Tom MacDonald from the University of London, shows the key cells and molecular players involved in this mechanism.

As explained in this video, “the gut mucosa is the largest and most dynamic immunological environment of the body. It is often the first point of pathogen exposure and many microbes use it as a beachhead into the rest of the body. The gut immune system therefore needs to be ready to respond to pathogens but, at the same time it is constantly exposed to innocuous environmental antigens which need to be tolerated. Misdirected immune responses to harmless antigens are the underlying cause of food allergies and debilitating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.”

This video is another opportunity to understand the importance of gut microbiota for maintaining our health. In other words, it’s a great way to continue learning about our relationship with bacteria!