Microbiota and Microbioma coexist in the human body in perfect harmony, influencing the physical and psychological state. Dr. Luciano Corazza, expert in Gastroenterology in Matera and Taranto, helps us to better understand their function.
What is a Microbiota and Microbiome?
The micro-organism population that develops in a specific environment and time is called Microbiota. The term Microbioma, on the other hand, indicates the genetic heritage of the Microbiota itself. A human microbiota is defined as the set of micro-organisms that live in symbiosis with the organism. The bacterial population is concentrated mostly in the intestinal tract in a number of about 38,000 billion bacteria. According to the metagenetic studies of the bacterial population, the human organism has about 1,000 microbial species with a genetic heritage of 3,000,000 of genes, more than 30 / 35,000 of the human body. The human microbiome represents 99% of our genetic component, as a second genome, 150 times numerically superior to the human one. Human Genome and Microbiome coexist in a mutualistic relationship determining the biological identity of the individual.
Why is the Microbiota so important?
The human microbiota has various functions, including:
• Influence on the body's metabolism through a regulation of the digestion of ingested foods
• An impact on psychological states due to the influence exerted on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and on the serotonergic system
• An important role in the development of the immune system
What causes the alteration of the Microbiota?
The Microbiota is different in every individual and in the same can change itself in the course of the life in relation to:
• Type of delivery
• External factors such as diet
• Type of micro-organisms present in the living environment, especially in early childhood
• Especially antibiotic drug therapies
• Post-surgical or functional intestinal anatomical alterations
It is therefore possible that from a condition of microbial equilibrium called Eubiosis, in which the metabolites useful for the organism are produced, it is possible to pass to a condition of dysbiosis in which the synthesis of molecules is lost due to an imbalance in the microbial population. useful and any pathogenic microorganisms present can metabolize compounds harmful to the body. The goal of the interaction between the microbiota and the immune system is to guarantee the discrimination of pathogenic microorganisms from those commensal activating the immune response or maintaining a state of tolerance towards the microbiota and the incoming food antigens.
What pathologies can arise from its alteration?
The alteration of the defined Microbiota Dysbiosis, with increase of pro-inflammatory bacteria and decrease of anti-inflammatory species, can lead to an increase in intestinal permeability, an increase in inflammatory signals, a direct cytotoxic effect by some bacterial species, a metabolic transformation of some components of the diet with formation of carcinogens and toxic substances. Recent studies have shown that dysbiosis is often called upon to explain the increased incidence of diseases defined as "diseases of progress" such as:
• Metabolic diseases (obesity and diabetes mellitus),
• Cardiovascular (atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease),
• Inflammatory (chronic inflammatory bowel disease MICI, rheumatoid arthritis),
• Functional intestinal (IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome),
• Allergic (rhinitis, dermatitis, eczema),
• Neurological (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis),
• Psychics (autism, Alzheimer),
• Urogenital (cystitis);
What can be done in these cases?
These correlations are leading to enormous therapeutic repercussions, including the "Microbiota transplant" and the "modulation of bacterial flora" with the therapeutic use of probiotics. The latter is proving to be a valuable resource in clinical practice and knowledge about the importance of nutrition in interaction with the microbiota is crucial to human health.