The role of the microbiome in human health has become a central tenant of current medical research, infiltrating a diverse disciplinary base whereby microbiology, computer science, ecology, gastroenterology, immunology, neurophysiology and psychology, metabolism, and cardiovascular medicine all intersect. Traditionally, commensal gut microbiota have been assumed to play a significant role only in the metabolic processing of dietary nutrients and host metabolites, the fortification of gut epithelial barrier function, and the development of mucosal immunity. However, over the last 20 years, new technologies and renewed interest have uncovered a considerably broader influence of the microbiota on health maintenance and disease development, many of which are of particular relevance for surgeons. This article provides a broad overview of the current state of knowledge and a review of the technology that helped in their formation.
- Gastrointestinal tract
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