Resilience and Microbiota
It is generally recognized that the resilience of microbiota in the gut plays a key role in health and disease, and is consequently an emerging biomarker for human health.
It is generally recognized that the resilience of microbiota in the gut plays a key role in health and disease, and is consequently an emerging biomarker for human health. One report states:
“Understanding mechanisms that confer resilience to stable states of the microbiota would allow us to devise strategies to increase resilience of healthy states, or decrease resilience of unhealthy states. If the gut microbiota normally exists in a stable state, how resistant is this state to change in response to different perturbations? Whether a particular disturbance disrupts a formerly stable state depends on the resilience of the microbial community to a given type of perturbation. In macro-ecosystems several aspects of diversity are critical for conferring resilience, and the same features are likely important in microbial ecosystems including the human gut microbiota.”
“One important parameter is species richness, i.e. the number of species present in a given system. (Note that in culture-independent studies, this number depends on sampling effort, i.e. the number of sequences collected per sample). Ecological theory predicts that species-rich communities are less susceptible to invasion because they use limiting resources more efficiently, with different species specializing to each potentially limiting resource. Excess nutrient loading, or eutrophication, often causes decreased ecosystem diversity because a small number of species overgrow and outcompete everything else, with a concomitant decrease in resilience. Consistent with this notion, decreased diversity has been linked with obesity and with a “Western” diet high in fat and sugar compared to those on low-fat plant-based diets 4 although whether this decreased microbiota diversity results in a decrease in resilience is not known.”
The composition of the intestinal microbiota varies among individuals and throughout development, and is dependent on host and environmental factors. However, although the microbiota is constantly exposed to environmental challenges, its composition and function in an individual are stable against perturbations, as microbial communities are resilient and resistant to change. The maintenance of a beneficial microbiota requires a homeostatic equilibrium within microbial communities, and also between the microorganisms and the intestinal interface of the host. The resilience of the healthy microbiota protects us from dysbiosis-related diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or metabolic disorder. By contrast, a resilient dysbiotic microbiota may cause disease. In this Opinion article, we propose that microbial resilience has a key role in health and disease. We will discuss the concepts and mechanisms of microbial resilience against dietary, antibiotic or bacteriotherapy-induced perturbations and the implications for human health.
- Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota
- Gut microbiota resilience as an emerging measure of health
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