The intestinal microbiota, which is composed of bacteria, viruses, and micro-eukaryotes, acts as an accessory organ system with distinct functions along the intestinal tract that are critical for health. This review focuses on how the microbiota drives intestinal disease through alterations in microbial community architecture, disruption of the mucosal barrier, modulation of innate and adaptive immunity, and dysfunction of the enteric nervous system. Inflammatory bowel disease is used as a model system to understand these microbial-driven pathologies, but the knowledge gained in this space is extended to less-well-studied intestinal diseases that may also have an important microbial component, including environmental enteropathy and chronic colitis-associated colorectal cancer.
Wlodarska M, Kostic AD, Xavier RJ
Cell Host Microbe. 2015 May 13;17(5):577-91. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.008.