It also indicates that inflamed tissue differs from non-inflamed tissue, but not in a consistent or predictable manner. Indeed, despite general trends such as a reduction in diversity, the response to IBD may be to some extent specific to the individual. This lends support to the emerging hypothesis that IBD is combinatorial in aetiology, with many different combinations of genetic and environmental causes leading to similar therapeutic responses , and highlights the importance of interconnection between the environment, the microbiota and the host in health
and disease. Despite this, even if particular bacteria are not the specific cause of IBD, altered immune responses may act to select particular bacterial
species through creation Romidepsin of favourable microenvironments and might therefore cause the outgrowth Foretinib nmr of potentially pathogenic commensal species . Shifts in the microbiota may therefore still impact gut health by altering the antigenic exposure to the gut mucosa or by reducing its exposure to beneficial microbes and/or their metabolic products, thereby initiating a cycle that favours recruitment and growth of more pro-inflammatory species [17, 75]. The observed reduction in Firmicutes proportions, for example, might lead to an undesirable affect on gut health. Recent work describing the anti-inflammatory properties of one Firmicutes species, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii  illustrates this point. Finally, results from metagenomic studies indicate that, regardless of species composition, the collective
genomes of each individual’s microbiota appear to encode a remarkably conserved set of functions . If similar, and potentially aggravating, factors are encoded by multiple species, it is possible that we will be CYC202 mouse better Branched chain aminotransferase served in the future by looking at the complete gene complement of the microbial community as a whole, not just species composition. With this in mind, it is hoped that further analysis of the complex interplay between host and microbes will yield important insights into the pathogenesis of IBD. Methods Patients Patients were selected from those undergoing routine colonoscopic assessment of IBD at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals, London, UK. As controls, asymptomatic individuals undergoing colonoscopy for a family history of colorectal cancer or polyp surveillance were also invited to take part. Written informed consent was obtained from each patient and the study was granted ethical approval by the St. Thomas’ Research Ethics Committee (Ref No. 06/Q0702/74). Patient information, including sex, age and the location of the colon that biopsies were taken from, is given in Table 1. Colonoscopy was undertaken after prior preparation of the colon with two sachets of sodium picosulphate. No individuals received antibiotics in the preceding 2 months.