Nature Outlook |

The gut microbiome

We are not alone in our bodies. Living inside every person are trillions of microorganisms — bacteria, viruses, fungi and other life forms that are collectively known as the microbiome.

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Features and comment

Microorganisms live in the human digestive system and affect our health — scientists are trying to work out how.

Outlook | | Nature

Despite evidence of the gut microbiome’s role in human health, researchers are still working out what shapes the community of microbes.

Outlook | | Nature

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The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Multi’omics Database includes longitudinal data encompassing a multitude of analyses of stool, blood and biopsies of more than 100 individuals, and provides a comprehensive description of host and microbial activities in inflammatory bowel diseases.

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In this Opinion article, Sonnenburg and Sonnenburg explore whether individuals in the industrialized world may be harbouring a microbial community that is now incompatible with human biology, and they hypothesize that the modern, industrial lifestyle has contributed to alterations in the microbiota that may be linked to the deterioration of human health.

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Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), a highly effective treatment for Clostridium difficile infection, is now being explored for complex diseases, but innovative trial design and collaborative approaches are essential for unlocking its therapeutic potential. If ‘superstool’ capable of treating a complex disease exists, then FMT trials should aim to find and use it.

Comment | | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Current nutritional approaches to prevent and treat various diseases have limited effectiveness. Here, Zmora et al. review the major principles underlying effects of dietary constituents on the gut microbiota, resolving aspects of the diet–microbiota–host crosstalk, and present the promises and challenges of incorporating microbiome data into dietary planning.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Attention has turned to the gut microbiota in liver disease, including alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. This Review describes gut–liver communications, including evidence from animal and human studies, compares conditions within the liver disease spectrum and highlights key points for designing microbiome-based studies for liver disease research.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology

The transmission of commensal intestinal bacteria between humans could promote health by establishing, maintaining and replenishing microbial diversity in the microbiota of an individual. In this Review, Browne and colleagues discuss the mechanisms and factors that influence host-to-host transmission of the intestinal microbiota.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Microbiology