About this Research Topic
The gastrointestinal tract is a unique environment in which a dense neuronal network, and a large number of immune cells, face with the gut microbiota, which is the richest and most complex microbial ecosystem in the human body. In the gut, microbes, neurons and immune cells share discrete anatomical localization and deeply influence intestinal motility, mucosal permeability, sensory functions, and antigen tolerance both at local and systemic levels. The bidirectional neuronal-immune interaction has been extensively investigated in the last few years, establishing the “neuro-immune cell unit” that has shifted the knowledge of mechanisms regulating intestinal functions in health and disease.
The gut microbiota is on the fringes of the neuronal-immune system. However, gut microbes drive secretion of neuroactive factors, generate intra- and inter-kingdom signal molecules, and set the activation and function of the enteric neuronal network, as well as immune and epithelial cells. Indeed, gut dysbiosis has dramatic consequences for tissue homeostasis, resulting in intestinal inflammatory diseases and dysmotility. Nevertheless, studies merging the multifaceted role of the gut microbiota with the functions of the neuro-immune units are still missing. An objective of this Research Topic is to unveil the molecular mechanisms by which the gut microbiota affects neuro-immune system, generating a novel functional entity, namely the “microbial-neuro-immune unit”. We invite investigators to contribute original research and review articles that will pose new evidence in elucidating the bidirectional signals and molecular mechanisms by which intestinal microbes and the neuronal-immune unit cross-talk. Human and animal studies, as well as in-vitro and ex-vivo studies, are invaluable to dissect the mechanisms involved in the interactions among mammalian cells and intestinal microbes.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Interactions between gut microbiota (whole or individual microbe) and cells of the gut (neurons, enterocytes, glia, enteroendocrine cells, muscle cells, cells of the innate and adaptive immune system) in health and disease
- Gut dysbiosis
- Intestinal dysmotility and visceral sensitivity
- Compositional determination of the gut microbiota and neuronal-immune cross-talk in the gut or brain
- Microbial virulence factors and immune-mediated intestinal or systemic alterations
- Molecular pathways in microbial and host signals
- Pathogen infection or intestinal inflammation and neuroimmune modulation
- Host-related factors (i.e. immunity, genes, diet, hormones, drugs, etc.) and environmental factors (i.e. xenobiotics, pollutants, cold, etc.) and neuronal-immune cross-talk
- Manipulation of the gut microbiota (i.e. diet, physical activity, nutritional supplements, prebiotics or probiotics) and neuronal-immune cross-talk
- Signaling initiated by microbe-derived components, metabolites or host-derived intermediaries and neuronal-immune cross-talk
Keywords: gut microbiota, dysbiosis, gut metabolome, neuroimmune cross-talk, inflammation, intestinal motility, visceral sensitivity
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.