Environmental, maternal and early life microbial/immune networks program human developmental trajectories and health outcomes and strongly modify allergic disease risk. The effects of environmental microbiota are illustrated by the ‘farm effect’ (the protection against asthma and allergy conferred by growing up on a traditional farm) and other natural experiments in populations exposed to microbe-rich environments. The role of gut microbiome maturation in the asthma/allergy trajectory is demonstrated by the most recent farm studies, which identified microbial metabolites specifically associated with asthma protection, and studies in other cohorts, which defined dynamic microbial community profiles associated with allergic disease phenotypes. Current and future studies in germ-free mice associated with gut microbiota from human disease states are providing novel mechanistic insights into the role of microbiota in shaping immune function and allergic disease susceptibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy