The human body is colonized by a large number of microbes coexisting peacefully with their host. The most colonized site is the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). More than 70% of all the microbes in the human body are in the colon. The microorganism population is 10 times larger of the total number of our somatic and germ cells. Two bacterial phyla, accounting for more than 90% of the bacterial cells, dominate the healthy adult intestine: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Considerable variability in the microbiota compositions between people is found when we look at the taxonomic level of species, and strains within species. It is possible to assert that the human microbiota could be compared to a fingerprint. The microbiota acts as a barrier from pathogens, exerts important metabolic functions, and regulates inflammatory response by stimulating the immune system. Gut microbial imbalance (dysbiosis), has been linked to important human diseases such as inflammation related disorders. The present review summarizes our knowledge on the gut microbiota in a healthy context, and examines intestinal dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients; the most frequently reported disease proven to be associated with changes in the gut microbiota.
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