The dynamics of gut-associated microbial communities during inflammation

Sebastian E. Winter, Christopher A. Lopez, Andreas J. Bäumler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Our intestine is host to a large microbial community (microbiota) that educates the immune system and confers niche protection. Profiling of the gut-associated microbial community reveals a dominance of obligate anaerobic bacteria in healthy individuals. However, intestinal inflammation is associated with a disturbance of the microbiota-known as dysbiosis-that often includes an increased prevalence of facultative anaerobic bacteria. This group contains potentially harmful bacterial species, the bloom of which can further exacerbate inflammation. Here, we review the mechanisms that generate changes in the microbial community structure during inflammation. One emerging concept is that electron acceptors generated as by-products of the host inflammatory response feed facultative anaerobic bacteria selectively, thereby increasing their prevalence within the community. This new paradigm has broad implications for understanding dysbiosis during gut inflammation and identifies potential targets for intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • anaerobic respiration
  • dysbiosis
  • intestinal inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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