Medical research

Neutral mutants can prevail in gut microbiota, enhancing diversity

Scientists at EPFL and Sorbonne propose a new model of the diversity and evolution of gut bacteria that shows how the gut environment helps neutral mutations become prevalent, with significant potential implications on health ...

Inflammatory disorders

Link between intestinal inflammation and microbiome

Around 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms colonize our intestines. All of them together form the intestinal microbiome. As we now know, these microbes play an important role in maintaining ...

Immunology

Immunodeficiency affects intestinal microbiome

In the largest study of intestinal bacterial composition (also called the intestinal microbiome) to date in persons with the immunodeficiency selective IgA deficiency, researchers at DTU Bioengineering have ascertained that ...

Immunology

How the immune system keeps the intestinal flora in balance

The bacteria living in the intestine consist of some 500 to 1000 different species. They make up what is known as the intestinal flora, which plays a key role in digestion and prevents infections. Unlike pathogens that invade ...

Gerontology & Geriatrics

Age and aging have critical effects on the gut microbiome

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have found that aging produces significant changes in the microbiome of the human small intestine distinct from those caused by medications or illness burden. The findings have been published in ...

Inflammatory disorders

How intestinal bacteria use our dying cells as fuel

As part of a trans-Atlantic collaboration, researchers from the team of Kodi Ravichandran (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) and the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.) have ...

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Gut flora

The gut flora consists of the microorganisms that normally live in the digestive tract of animals. The gut flora includes much of the human flora. The term "gut flora" is interchangeable with intestinal microflora and intestinal microbiota.

The average human body, consisting of about 1013 (10,000,000,000,000 or about ten trillion) cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in the intestines. The metabolic activity performed by these bacteria is equal to that of a virtual organ causing some to describe the gut bacteria as a "forgotten" organ.

Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon and 60% of the dry mass of feces. Somewhere between 300 and 1000 different species live in the gut, with most estimates at about 500. However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species. Fungi and protozoa also make up a part of the gut flora, but little is known about their activities.

Research suggests that the relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather is a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship. Though people can survive with no gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful species, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by producing infection or increasing cancer risk for the host.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA