The gut microbiome functions like an endocrine organ, generating enzymes and bioactive metabolites, which affect host physiology. In addition metabolism-independent processes like impaired intestinal barrier function may result in bacterial translocation and an increased inflammation. Specific microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) have been detected that induce immune activation via cognate pattern-recognition receptors on host immune cells, with subsequent consequences on inflammatory-induced endothelial dysfunction. Alterations in intestinal microbial and metabolic composition play an important role in human health and disease, including cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Changes in the composition of gut microbiota (dysbiosis) are linked to chronic inflammation, thrombosis, atherogenesis, chronic heart, and kidney disease, as well as to autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematodes. Although non-selective approaches that broadly alter microbial community structure, such as prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbial transplantation, may have some promise, targeting defined microbial pathways and adjacent host immune responses may be the ultimate scientific goal.

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