About this Research Topic
About 100 trillion symbiotic microorganisms colonize the human body. They form the so-called microbiota which expands both on and in the tissues (including biological fluids). Recently, the microbiota has been considered an "essential organ" because of its pivotal role in several functions that are fundamental for human life such as the digestion of food, regulation of the immune system, protection against pathogen bacteria, regulation of epithelial development in the gut, etc. On one hand, the symbiosis allows human beings to benefit of microbe biochemical pathways and, on the other hand, the interaction modulates in the host both the gene expression and the metabolic processes.
In the last decades, the advances in new technologies (e.g. the Next Generation Sequencing) permitted researchers to identify the gut microbiota as one of the players in the onset or development of illnesses which include obesity, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma, mental or psychological diseases, and other diseases directly related to the intestine (inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer). Moreover, several studies indicate that host factors (genotype, immune status and comorbidities) and exogenous ones (climate, habits and hygiene) can dramatically affect the microbiota balance. Altogether, research evidences suggest a mutual host-microbiota effect.
Patients affected by several different diseases, especially autoimmune diseases, are found to have an altered microbiota (dysbiosis). Dysbiosis can be the result of an overgrowth or impoverishment of the whole microbiome or a specific taxa; or it can be caused by misplaced microorganisms that colonize a new body environment instead of the usual one. Moreover, alteration of intestine permeability, a condition found for example in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and in Celiac Disease that are linked with dysbiosis, can spread bacteria or bacterial components to the surrounding tissues as well as systemic circulation. Whether dysbiosis and/or intestine permeability are causative or associated with specific illnesses is not still completely understood. Moreover, the question if the diversity of the microbiota rather than a particular strain of bacterium can be related to a specific condition remains still open.
This Research Topic is focused on advances in understanding the role of the gut microbiota (both considered as a whole unit and specific component) in the onset and the development of intestine and liver diseases and cancer. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD), Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), cirrhosis and onset and developmental of the colon and hepatic cancer with focus on cellular and molecular mechanisms are of particular interest.
We welcome Original Research, Reviews, Mini-Review, Methods, Data Report and Opinion articles.
Keywords: Microbiota, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Alcoholic Liver Disease, Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Cirrhosis, Cancer
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