Microbiota-Nourishing Immunity: A Guide to Understanding Our Microbial Self

Yael Litvak, Andreas J. Bäumler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In ecological terms, the microbiome is defined as the microbiota and its environment, a definition that encompasses the human host. The size, species composition, and biogeography of microbial communities is shaped by host interactions, and, in turn, the microbiota influences many aspects of human health. Here we discuss the concept of microbiota-nourishing immunity, a host-microbe chimera composed of the microbiota and host factors that shape the microbial ecosystem, which functions in conferring colonization resistance against pathogens. We propose that dysbiosis is a biomarker of a weakening in microbiota-nourishing immunity and that homeostasis can be defined as a state of immune competence. Microbiota-nourishing immunity thus provides a conceptual framework to further examine the mechanisms that preserve a healthy microbiome and the drivers and consequences of dysbiosis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


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