For health, microbial location matters

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Science  04 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6277, pp. 1039-1040
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6277.1039-b

The composition of our gut microbes probably affects our health. For instance, certain microbes may predispose individuals to some types of cancer, alter their metabolism, or even contribute to the aging process. In flies, an altered microbial composition in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can reduce life span. Li et al. investigated this further and found that the GI tract of younger flies compartmentalizes its resident microbes. As flies age, however, inflammatory signaling causes changes in the cells lining the GI tract, reducing its ability to maintain such compartmentalization. Blocking this process extends the life span of flies, suggesting that as for many things in life, location is key.

Cell Host Microbe 19, 240 (2016).

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