Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gut microbiome shapes change in human health and disease research

World class scientist Professor Willem M. de Vos will explain next Monday how the microbes that are closest to our hearts – gut microbes – could underpin a new way of thinking about human biology. As well as looking at our own genes, we can now include those of our microbes in studies of human health and disease. This is a significant shift in the way we approach human biology.

Gut microbes affect our health by producing vitamins, priming our immune system and contributing to resistance to pathogens. For example, recent studies have shown that the insulin resistance of patients with type 2 diabetes is linked to the intestinal microbiota composition and can be beneficially altered by replacing it with the microbiota of healthy donors.

The genes of our gut microbes, also known as the microbiome, act as a personalized organ that can be modified by diet, lifestyle and antibiotics. This organ is fed partly by us and partly by our diets. Professor de Vos and colleagues have classified the human microbiome into three enterotypes: clusters of microbiomes with similar compositions and nutrient-processing preferences. These enterotypes are characterized by bacteria with different capacities to degrade carbohydrate and mucin (a gel-forming protein which produces mucus). Our gut microbes get carbohydrates partly from our diet, whereas the mucin is produced by our own body.

Although these enterotypes are separated by species composition, it doesn't necessarily follow that abundant functions are provided by abundant species. To investigate the relationship between the microbiome and health, scientists must establish the functions of the products of their microbiomes.

"We have evolved with the microbes in our gut, our microbes inside, and have discovered that they talk to us and we feed them with, among other things, the mucins we produce. We now are trying to unravel their functions and understand exactly what these microbes and their products mean to human health" said Professor de Vos.

The size of one microbial metagenome (one host's microbiome) is 150 times larger than the human genome and encodes 100 times more genes than our own genome. This extensive gene catalogue could enable us to study potential associations between microbial genes and human phenotypes and even environmental factors like diet, throughout the length of our lifetime.

On 10 October 2011, Professor Willem M. de Vos will present the fourth Environmental Microbiology Lecture: "Microbes Inside"

Dr. Lucy Harper | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>