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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


ALARCON, Pedro; GONZALEZ, Margarita  and  CASTRO, Érica. The role of gut microbiota in the regulation of the immune response. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2016, vol.144, n.7, pp.910-916. ISSN 0034-9887.

The gastrointestinal tract hosts around 1014 bacterial microorganisms, in a constantly growing density from the stomach to the distal colon. This microbiota is composed by more than 500 species of bacteria, which are quickly acquired after birth, fairly stable during the host’s life, and essential for human homeostasis. These bacteria have important functions, such as stimulating the immune system, protecting the host from invading bacteria and viruses, and improving digestion, especially of complex carbohydrates. Also, the gut microbiota interacts directly with the immune system. However, the interaction of the intestinal epithelium and its microbiota with the immune system has yet to be fully understood. Secretory immunoglobulin A, produced by the plasma cells in Peyer’s patches and in the lamina propria, maintains non-invasive commensal bacteria and neutralize invasive pathogens. Dendritic cells migrate from the lamina propria of the secondary lymphoid organs to regulate gut immunity. They also have a key role maintaining luminal IgA and inducing the growth of regulatory T cells. Dendritic cells supervise the gut microenvironment too, keeping an immunological equilibrium and tolerance. The importance of the gut microbiota in regulating the immune system lies mostly in the homeostasis-or positive equilibrium. Thus, many diseases are a consequence of poor interactions or a loss of this equilibrium.

Keywords : Intestines; Immunity; Microbiota; Probiotics.

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