4 years ago

Microbiomarkers in inflammatory bowel diseases: caveats come with caviar

The largest numbers of commensal bacteria reside within our intestinal tract, with an increasing density from mouth to anus. Recently, a new estimate for the total number of bacteria (3.8x1013) in the 70 kg ‘reference man’ was reported.1 For human cells, the same authors revised past estimates to 3.0x1013 cells, out of which approximately 90% belong to the haematopoietic lineage. Hence, the widely cited 10:1 ratio of bacteria versus human cells received an update, showing that the number of bacteria in the body is actually of the same order as the number of human cells, and that the cumulative bacterial mass is about 200 g. Still, this large number of bacteria highlights their importance in maintaining health and metabolism. Different parts of the intestinal tract have different functions, tissue structure varies accordingly and gradients exist for several physicochemical parameters such as nutrients, pH or oxygen levels.2 Consequently,...

Publisher URL: http://gut.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/66/10/1734

DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313678

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