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Highly Accessed Review

Microbes, the gut and ankylosing spondylitis

Mary-Ellen Costello1, Dirk Elewaut2, Tony J Kenna1 and Matthew A Brown1*

Author Affiliations

1 The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute, Level 7, 37 Kent Road, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Brisbane QLD 4102, Australia

2 Laboratory for Molecular Immunology and Inflammation, Department of Rheumatology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:214  doi:10.1186/ar4228

Published: 6 June 2013

Abstract

It is increasingly clear that the interaction between host and microbiome profoundly affects health. There are 10 times more bacteria in and on our bodies than the total of our own cells, and the human intestine contains approximately 100 trillion bacteria. Interrogation of microbial communities by using classic microbiology techniques offers a very restricted view of these communities, allowing us to see only what we can grow in isolation. However, recent advances in sequencing technologies have greatly facilitated systematic and comprehensive studies of the role of the microbiome in human health and disease. Comprehensive understanding of our microbiome will enhance understanding of disease pathogenesis, which in turn may lead to rationally targeted therapy for a number of conditions, including autoimmunity.