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01.12.2017 | Commentary | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Gut Pathogens 1/2017

We are not alone: a case for the human microbiome in extra intestinal diseases

Gut Pathogens > Ausgabe 1/2017
S. Shivaji



“Dysbiosis” in the gut microbiome has been implicated in auto-immune diseases, in inflammatory diseases, in some cancers and mental disorders. The challenge is to unravel the cellular and molecular basis of dysbiosis so as to understand the disease manifestation.

Main body

Next generation sequencing and genome enabled technologies have led to the establishment of the composition of gut microbiomes and established that “dysbiosis” is the cause of several diseases. In a few cases the cellular and molecular changes accompanying dysbiosis have been investigated and correlated with the disease. Gut microbiome studies have indicated that Christensenella minuta controls obesity in mice, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii protects mice against intestinal inflammation and Akkermansia muciniphila reverses obesity and insulin resistance by secreting endocannabinoids. In mice polysaccharide antigen A on the surface of Bacteroides fragilis, reduces inflammation. Such experiments provide the link between the gut microbiome and human health but implicating dysbiosis with extra-intestinal diseases like arthritis, muscular dystrophy, vaginosis, fibromyalgia, some cancers and mental disorders appears to be more challenging. The relevance of gut microbiome to the eye appears to be very remote. But considering that the eye is the site of inflammatory diseases like uveitis, scleritis, Mooren’s corneal ulcer etc. it is possible that these diseases are also influenced by dysbiosis. In mice signals from the gut microbiota activate retina specific T cells that are involved in autoimmune uveitis. Such information would open up new strategies for therapy where the emphasis would be on restoring the diversity in the gut by antibiotic or specific drug use, specific microbe introduction, probiotic use and fecal transplant therapy. The ocular surface microbiome may also be responsible for eye diseases in man but such studies are lacking. Microbiome of the healthy cornea and conjunctiva have been identified. But whether the ocular microbiome exhibits dysbiosis with disease? Whether ocular microbiome is influenced by the gut microbiome? What mediates the cross-talk between the gut and ocular microbiomes? These are questions that need to be addressed to understand idiopathic infections of the eye.


Evaluating diseases remote from the gut would unfold the mysteries of the microbiome.
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