Improved hygiene leading to a reduced exposure to microorganisms have been implicated as one possible cause for the recent ‘epidemic’ of chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) in industrialized countries. That is the essence of the hygiene hypothesis that argues that rising incidence of CID may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too “clean” for our own good. Apart from genetic makeup and exposure to environmental triggers, three more elements have been recently identified being key players in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. A third element is the inappropriate Increase in intestinal permeability, which may be influenced by the composition of the gut microbiota, has been proposed. The immune system responsible of the tolerance-immune response represents the forth element involved in the pathogenesis of CID. Finally, the composition of gut microbiome and its epigenetic influence on the host genomic expression has been identified as a fifth element in causing CID. The gut microbiome consists of more than 100 trillion microorganisms, most of which are bacteria. It has been just recently recognized that there is a close bidirectional interaction between gut microbiome and our immune system and this cross talk, particularly during the first 1000 days of life, is highly influential in shaping the host gut immune system function and, ultimately, shifting genetic predisposition to clinical outcome. This observation led to a revisitation of the possible causes of CID epidemics, suggesting a key pathogenic role of microbiome composition. While factors such as modality of deliver, neonatal feeding regimens, use of antibiotics, infections can influence microbiota composition, diet is by far the most important variable affecting gut ecosystem. Therefore, re-shaping gut microbiota through dietary manipulation is becoming an extremely active area of research for the prevention or treatment of a multitude of CID.
- The participant will be able to explain what key factors are necessary and sufficient for the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.
- The participant will be able to justify why a balanced microbiome is essential for good human health.
- The participant will be able to discuss why nutrition is the most impactful factor affecting gut microbiome composition and function.