Microbial influences on epithelial integrity and immune function as a basis for inflammatory diseases

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Laurence Macia
  • Alison N. Thorburn
  • Lauren C. Binge
  • Eliana Marino
  • Kate E. Rogers
  • Angélica T. Vieira
  • Jan Kranich
  • Charles R. Mackay

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Monash University
  • Department of Biochemistry
  • University of Lausanne
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research


Certain autoimmune diseases as well as asthma have increased in recent decades, particularly in developed countries. The hygiene hypothesis has been the prevailing model to account for this increase; however, epidemiology studies also support the contribution of diet and obesity to inflammatory diseases. Diet affects the composition of the gut microbiota, and recent studies have identified various molecules and mechanisms that connect diet, the gut microbiota, and immune responses. Herein, we discuss the effects of microbial metabolites, such as short chain fatty acids, on epithelial integrity as well as immune cell function. We propose that dysbiosis contributes to compromised epithelial integrity and disrupted immune tolerance. In addition, dietary molecules affect the function of immune cells directly, particularly through lipid G-protein coupled receptors such as GPR43.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-176
Number of pages13
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Epithelium, GPR43, Microbiota, Short-chain fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

Sustainable Development Goals