The Interplay between Immune System and Microbiota in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Narrative Review

Laila Aldars-García 1 2, Alicia C Marin 1 2, María Chaparro 1 2, Javier P Gisbert 1 2


Author information

  • 1Gastroenterology Unit, Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa (IIS-IP), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), 28006 Madrid, Spain.
  • 2Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), 28006 Madrid, Spain.


The importance of the gut microbiota in human health is currently well established. It contributes to many vital functions such as development of the host immune system, digestion and metabolism, barrier against pathogens or brain-gut communication. Microbial colonization occurs during infancy in parallel with maturation of the host immune system; therefore, an adequate cross-talk between these processes is essential to generating tolerance to gut microbiota early in life, which is crucial to prevent allergic and immune-mediated diseases. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by an exacerbated immune reaction against intestinal microbiota. Changes in abundance in the gut of certain microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea have been associated with IBD. Microbes that are commonly found in high abundance in healthy gut microbiomes, such as F. prausnitzii or R. hominis, are reduced in IBD patients. E. coli, which is usually present in a healthy gut in very low concentrations, is increased in the gut of IBD patients. Microbial taxa influence the immune system, hence affecting the inflammatory status of the host. This review examines the IBD microbiome profile and presents IBD as a model of dysbiosis.

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