Gastroenterology is the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. "We are beginning to understand the ways by which the microbial environment of the gut may play a role in both the maintance of human health and the development of certain diseases. Data in this special issue of Gastroenterology
may lead to strategies for the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases, " stated Gary Wu, MD, guest editor for the special issue; chair, scientific advisory board of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education, and professor of medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
Reflecting the evolution of intestinal microbiome research, the articles in this special issue address three themes: 1) basic concepts in the mammalian gut microbiome; 2) gut microbiome and disease; and 3) modification of the gut microbiome to maintain health or treat disease.
A. Basic Concepts in the Mammalian Gut Microbiome
B. The Gut Microbiome and Disease
- Meta'omic Analytic Techniques for Studying the Intestinal Microbiome, by Xochitl C. Morgan et al.
- Compositional and Functional Features of the Gastrointestinal Microbiome and Their Effects on Human Health, by Emily B. Hollister et al.
- Kingdom-Agnostic Metagenomics and the Importance of Complete Characterization of Enteric Microbial Communities, by Jason M. Norman et al.
- The Intestinal Metabolome: An Intersection Between Microbiota and Host, by Luke K. Ursell et al.
- Regulation of the Immune System by the Resident Intestinal Bacteria, by Nobuhiko Kamada et al.
C. Modification of the Gut Microbiome to Maintain Health or Treat Disease
- The Microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Current Status and the Future Ahead, by Aleksandar D. Kostic et al.
- Brain-Gut Microbiome Interactions and Functional Bowel Disorders, by Emeran A. Mayer et al.
- Interactions Between the Intestinal Microbiome and Liver Diseases, by Bernd Schnabl et al.
- Role of the Microbiome in Energy Regulation and Metabolism, by Max Nieuwdorp et al.
- Gastrointestinal Malignancy and the Microbiome, by Maria T. Abreu et al.
- Role of the Intestinal Microbiota in Resistance to Colonization by Clostridium difficile, by Robert A. Britton et al.
- Manipulation of the Microbiota for Treatment of IBS and IBD —Challenges and Controversies, by Fergus Shanahan et al.
- Diet and the Intestinal Microbiome: Associations, Functions, and Implications for Health and Disease, by Lindsey G. Albenberg et al.
- From Stool Transplants to Next-Generation Microbiota Therapeutics, by Elaine O. Petrof et al.
"By focusing this issue of Gastroenterology
on the intestinal microbiome, we strive to provide comprehensive and up-to-date research on the human gut microbiome and its association with health and disease," note Chung Owyang, senior associate editor of Gastroenterology
. "We hope to stimulate research that will lead to further discoveries and novel treatments."
Environmental factors play a large role in the significant rise of a number of human diseases, especially those effecting residents of industrialized nations, such as inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic disease. These factors, in combination with a person's genetics, appear to play a prominent role in shaping the composition of the gut microbiota. Recent advances in technology, especially in DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, have enabled scientists to better characterize the microbes that inhabit the human gut and, potentially, how they may play a role in disease pathogenesis.