Impact of the microbiome on the immune system

Christoffer B. Lambring, Sohail Siraj, Krishna Patel, Umesh T. Sankpal, Stephen Mathew, Riyaz Basha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Higher organisms are all born with general immunity as well as with, increasingly, more specific immune systems. All immune mechanisms function with the intent of aiding the body in defense against infection. Internal and external factors alike have varying effects on the immune system, and the immune response is tailored specifically to each one. Accompanying the components of the human innate and adaptive immune systems are the other intermingling systems of the human body. Increasing understanding of the body’s immune interactions with other systems has opened new avenues of study, including that of the microbiome. The microbiome has become a highly active area of research over the last 10 to 20 years since the NIH began funding the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), which was established in 2007. Several publications have focused on the characterization, functions, and complex interplay of the microbiome as it relates to the rest of the body. A dysfunction between the microbiome and the host has been linked to various diseases including cancers, metabolic deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Further understanding of the microbiome and its interaction with the host in relation to diseases is needed in order to understand the implications of microbiome dysfunction and the possible use of microbiota in the prevention of disease. In this review, we have summarized information on the immune system, the microbiome, the microbiome’s interplay with other systems, and the association of the immune system and the microbiome in diseases such as diabetes and colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-328
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Reviews in Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Adaptive immunity
  • Innate immunity
  • Microbiome
  • Microbiome interplay


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