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The human microbiome is composed of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. These microbes reside in and on our whole body e.g. the oropharyngeal space, the urogenital organs, the skin and the gut, mainly. The human microbiome has tremendous potential to impact our physiology, both in health and disease. Great advances in studying the human microbiome were made possible through culture-independent analyses. The bacterial constituents were identified through 16 S RNA sequenzing thereby formulating the human metagenome, which is more than 100 fold greater than the human genome.
Diversity, richness and abundance of the microbes are important characteristics of the human microbiome for his functions as a friend or foe. The human microbiome forms with his microbes an active biofilm on the human surfaces protecting or eroding the underlying mucosa.
Moreover the human microbiome is a highly active metabolite producer , the metabolome. In combination with environmental, nutritional, pharmacologic or genetic host factors the human metabolome induces an inflammatory response and blocks intended pharmaceutical therapies.
A number of different metabolic diseases e.g. diabetes, obesity, fatty liver or cardiovascular diseases are presumably caused by the malfunction, known as dysbiosis, of the Human microbiome. The human microbiome is connected via the brain-gut axis with the human brain inducing mood disturbances and mental diseases.
Scientific research studying probiotics, prebiotics and antibiotics is under way to elucidate the therapeutic possibilities of the abovementioned diseases. Moreover the human fecal microbiota transplantation is established as an accepted indication for the refractory clostridium difficile infection of the colon.
Future research studies will produce more insights in the function and malfunction of the human microbiome.