List of Human Microbiota


Initial Question: (Discuss how antibiotics can harm the body’s normal microbiome and examine how to replenish or increase the normal microbiome)

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Normal microbiomes live all over the human body–on skin, in gut, in orifices (nose) etc. These microbiomes are typically not harmful. Sometimes these microbiomes cause illness and disease for humans. To combat these diseases and restore the human to baseline health, many providers prescribe the use of antibiotics. The use of antibiotics, like penicillin, have saved many lives. Antibiotics decrease gut microbial diversity. However, the increased use of antibiotics have created antibiotic resistant infections. By stimulating the expression of the antibiotic resistance, there is an increase of resistance genes left in the microbiota, creating antibiotic resistant infections. “The use of antibiotics heavily disrupts the ecology of the human microbiome (i.e., the collection of cells, genes, and metabolites from the bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses that inhabit the human body)” (Langdon et al., 2016). Studies have shown that antibiotics such as amoxicillin can cause shifts in the microbiome that can last from 30 days to 2 months. Antibiotics also affect different areas of the body differently. For example the throat recovers their initial microbial diversity after antibiotics quicker than other areas, like the intestines.
For many years it has been thought that microbes are bad, and cleanliness is important to get rid of microbes. Research has shown that “we should balance our symbiotic microbial communities to protect us from pathogens and disease states” (Ursell et al., 2013, p.811). It is important to have a normal microbiome to protect us. One way to keep the normal microbiome is to not “go crazy” with cleanliness, like using purell all the time. Especially with children, it is important for them to build their normal microbiome. One of the first natural ways to acquire microbiome, is by a vaginal delivery. This is a natural route of inoculation, which studies have shown that after one month babies born by cesarean section had less microbiome(Ursell et al., 2013, p.814).
One way to replenish normal microbiome is with probiotics. Probiotics are live microbes that, when ingested, have health-promoting effects. It is especially useful to take probiotics when taking antibiotics. Another method, in certain cases, is fecal transplants. “Fecal microbiome transplantations can be used for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection” (Ursell et al., 2013, p.815). This type of treatment has been shown to help replenish the normal microbiome in the gut.

Langdon, A., Crook, N., & Dantas, G. (2016). The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation. Genome Medicine, 8(1).
Ursell, L. K., Van Treuren, W., Metcalf, J. L., Pirrung, M., Gewirtz, A., & Knight, R. (2013). Replenishing our defensive microbes. BioEssays, 35(9), 810–817.

(Discuss the different uses of tumor markers and share your opinion on whether tumor markers should be used for general population screening).

The different uses of tumor markers include “screening and early detection, diagnostic confirmation, prognosis and prediction of therapeutic response, and monitoring disease and recurrence”(Sharma, 2009). Screening is a tool used to help identify the possibility and early detection of cancer. However, because of the lack of specificity and sensitivity these tumor markers for screening are usually used in support of the diagnosis, not the primary source of the diagnosis. Tumor markers can help with diagnostic confirmation, and help to determine malignancy vs. benign.
“Tumor marker levels, in certain situations, reflect tumor burden in the body and hence can be used in staging, prognostication or prediction of response to therapy” (Sharma, 2009). Understanding what the levels of the tumor markers mean, can help with patient care. It can help determine what stage of cancer the person has, if treatment is working, or if other treatments might work better. Tumor markers are also a very important factor in disease monitoring. See if the tumor markers increase can usually indicate disease progression. While seeing tumor markers decrease, indicates remission.
To every discovery there are risks and benefits. This holds true to the use of tumor markers. Tumor markers can be very helpful in detecting, diagnosing, and treating cancer. While misinterpretation of tumor markers or heavily relying on tumor markers can lead to over treatment or under treatment. Tumor markers should be included in screening of the general public, because if it can detect cancer early and help save lives it is worth it. But we must keep in mind that tumor markers aren’t the primary tool for diagnosing cancer. In conjunction with other tests it can be helpful with early diagnosis and proper treatment.

(Define hypersensitivity and its relationship to allergy, autoimmunity, and alloimmunity).

Hypersensitivity reactions are a collection of reactions in which the immune system plays a protective role while often causing damage. Both autoimmunity and allergies may influence hypersensitivity reactions. Allergies are an immune reaction to common constituents in the context, while an autoimmune infection is a direct immune response to tissues within the body. Immediate hypersensitivity reactions occur within minutes to a few hours after exposure to an antigen. Anaphylaxis is the most rapid and severe hypersensitivity reaction that can be caused by stings, peanuts, shellfish, eggs. Delayed hypersensitivity reactions may take several hours to appear and are at maximal severity days after reexposure to the antigen.

Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as atopy. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions occur to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens. Reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid Include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma attacks, food allergy, and reactions to drugs and the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees. Clemens Von Pirquet coined the word allergy to describe “an altered capacity of the body to respond to a foreign material,” which was a very broad concept that encompassed all immunological reactions. Allergy is now more narrowly characterized as “disease resulting from an immune system reaction to an otherwise harmless antigen.” ( Janeway et al., 2001 ) Allergies are part of a group of immune system responses known as hypersensitivity reactions. These are dangerous immune responses that cause tissue damage and can lead to serious illness.
Autoimmunity is a disturbance in the immunologic tolerance of self-antigens. Occur when the immune system reacts against self-antigens to such a degree that autoantibodies or autoreactive T cells damage the individual’s tissues. Hypersensitivity responses can be produced through endogenous self-antigens or exogenous antigens. Immune reactions for endogenous or self-antigens effects in autoimmune diseases ( Basu $ Banic, 2017 ).
Alloimmune diseases occur when the immune system of one individual produces an immunologic reaction against tissues of another individual. Can be observed during immunologic reactions against transfusions, transplanted tissue, or fetus during pregnancy. While gene-environment interactions have been studied for several years to better understand people’s vulnerability to autoimmune diseases or cancer, environmental factors are just now beginning to play a role in modulating alloimmune responses (Riella et al., 2017) Diet, hyperlipidemia, toxins, commensal bacteria, and pathogenic infections, according to new research can all affect T cell activation and differentiation. Alloimmune function is affected by environmental factors.

Basu S, Banik BK (2017) Autoimmune Disease: A Major Challenge for Effective Treatment. Immunol Curr Res 1: 103

Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et al.,( 2001 ) Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease.Garland Science. Chapter 12.

Riella,V & Lacomini, M (2017) Impact of environmental factors on alloimmunity and transplant fate. J Clin Invest. 127(7), 2482-2491.

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