Science. 2016 Apr 29;352(6285):539-44. doi: 10.1126/science.aad9378
How colonization by microbiota in early life shapes the immune system.
Gensollen T, Iyer SS, Kasper DL, Blumberg RS.
Microbial colonization of mucosal tissues during infancy plays an instrumental role in the development and education of the host mammalian immune system. These early-life events can have long-standing consequences: facilitating tolerance to environmental exposures or contributing to the development of disease in later life, including inflammatory bowel disease, allergy, and asthma. Recent studies have begun to define a critical period during early development in which disruption of optimal host-commensal interactions can lead to persistent and in some cases irreversible defects in the development and training of specific immune subsets. Here, we discuss the role of early-life education of the immune system during this “window of opportunity,” when microbial colonization has a potentially critical impact on human health and disease.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.