Effects of polymicrobial communities on host immunity and response

Xiaoying Lu, Zoya Kurago, Kim A. Brogden

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Microorganisms grow as members of microbial communities in unique niches, such as the mucosal surfaces of the human body. These microbial communities, containing both commensals and opportunistic pathogens, serve to keep individual pathogens 'in check' through a variety of mechanisms and complex interactions, both between the microorganisms themselves and the microorganisms and the host. Recent studies shed new light on the diversity of microorganisms that form the human microbial communities and the interactions these microbial communities have with the host to stimulate immune responses. This occurs through their recognition by dendritic cells or their ability to induce differential cytokine and defensin profiles. The differential induction of defensins by commensals and pathogens and the ability of the induced defensins to interact with the antigens from these microorganisms may attenuate proinflammatory signaling and trigger adaptive immune responses to microbial antigens in a multistep process. Such an activity may be a mechanism that the host uses to sense what is on its mucosal surfaces, as well as to differentiate among commensals and pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Defensins
  • Dendritic cells
  • Host immunity
  • Polymicrobial communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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