The APC’s Host-Microbe Dialogue theme explores the network of signalling interactions among the microbiota, host immune-inflammatory responses and metabolism and the impact of diet on each component of this triad. The gut microbiota influences human health and susceptibility to most common diseases, including immune-allergic, colon cancer and various metabolic diseases, such as obesity-related disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Each of these chronic disorders has an immune or inflammatory component, and indeed, the aging process itself, is associated with increases in low-grade inflammation (inflammageing). This low-grade inflammation, and the diseases associated with it, is a significant healthcare burden in developed countries, and represents a multi-billion € opportunity for companies in the food, pharmaceutical and diagnostic sectors.
L-R: Michael Maher, UCC and CUH; Ken Nally, UCC; Silvia Melgar, UCC; Marcus Claesson, UCC; Fergus Shanahah, UCC and CUH; David Clarke, UCC and Cormac Gahan, UCC
The APC has built a global reputation in inflammatory diseases, particularly in functional gastrointestinal conditions, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and in inflammation of the aged. The challenge now is to develop outputs, such as new robust microbial and other biomarkers of disease risk and to manipulate disease risk by targeting the microbiota using designer foods and/or pharmabiotics. This is a strategically important area both in the context of the ageing population and evolving economic and public health policies.