Cross talk between the gut microbiome and host immune response in ulcerative colitis: nonpharmacological strategies to improve homeostasis

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2022 Dec 1;323(6):G554-G561.doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00210.2022. Epub 2022 Oct 25.


Brooke M Bullard 1Brandon N VanderVeen 1Sierra J McDonald 1Thomas D Cardaci 1E Angela Murphy 1


Author information

1Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that is characterized by diffuse inflammation of the colonic and rectal mucosa. The burden of UC is rising globally with significant disparities in levels and trends of disease in different countries. The pathogenesis of UC involves the presence of pathogenic factors including genetic, environmental, autoimmune, and immune-mediated components. Evidence suggests that disturbed interactions between the host immune system and gut microbiome contribute to the origin and development of UC. Current medications for UC include antibiotics, corticosteroids, and biological drugs, which can have deleterious off-target effects on the gut microbiome, contributing to increased susceptibility to severe infections and chronic immunosuppression. Alternative, nonpharmacological, and behavioral interventions have been proposed as safe and effective treatments to alleviate UC, while also holding the potential to improve overall life quality. This mini-review will discuss the interactions between the immune system and the gut microbiome in the case of UC. In addition, we suggest nonpharmacological and behavioral strategies aimed at restoring a proper microbial-immune relationship.



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