Autoimmune Disease and the Human Metagenome

AD Proal, PJ Albert, TG Marshall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

11 Scopus citations


The prevailing theory of autoimmune disease, that the body creates autoantibodies that attack “self,” was devel- oped during an era when culture-based methods vastly underestimated the number of microbes capable of persisting in and on Homo sapiens. Thanks to the advent of culture-independent tools, the human body is now known to harbor billions of microbes whose collective genomes work in concert with the human genome. Thus, the human genome can no longer be studied in isolation. Some of these microbes persist by slowing the activity of the VDR nuclear receptor, affecting the expression of endogenous antimicrobials and other key components of the innate immune system. It seems that bacteria that cause autoimmune disease accumulate over a lifetime, with individuals picking up pathogens with greater ease over time, as the immune response becomes increasingly compromised. Any one autoimmune disease is likely due to many different microbes within the metagenomic microbiota. This helps explain the high levels of
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationMetagenomics of the Human Body
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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