New developments providing mechanistic insight into the impact of the microbiota on allergic disease.Clin Immunol 2015; 159(2):170-6CI
The increase in allergic diseases over the past several decades is correlated with changes in the composition and diversity of the intestinal microbiota. Microbial-derived signals are critical for instructing the developing immune system and conversely, immune regulation can impact the microbiota. Perturbations in the microbiota composition may be especially important during early-life when the immune system is still developing, resulting in a critical window of opportunity for instructing the immune system. This review highlights recent studies investigating the role of the microbiome in susceptibility or development of allergic diseases with a focus on animal models that provide insight into the mechanisms and pathways involved. Identification of a causal link between reduced microbial diversity or altered microbial composition and increased susceptibility to immune-mediated diseases will hopefully pave the way for better preventive therapies.