Gut Microbiota and Colonization Resistance against Bacterial Enteric Infection.

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PubMed ID: 31167904

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Ducarmon QR, Zwittink RD, Hornung BVH, van Schaik W, Young VB, Kuijper EJ

Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. Aug 2019

COMMENT: This review summarizes current knowledge on colonization resistance to pathogens mediated by the gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome is critical in providing resistance against pathogens colonization. In this review the authors describe the main mechanisms that make the microbiome able to provide colonization resistance and especially those mechanisms related to:

  • Short-Chain Fatty Acids
  • Bile Acids
  • Bacteriocins
  • Nutrient Competition
  • Mucus Layers
  • Bacteriophages

The review focuses the attention on the alterations that drugs can produce in the gut microbiota that indirectly can produce a lower resistance to the gut colonization by pathogens. These are drugs that appear to impact the colonization resistance to pathogens:

  • Antibiotics
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antidiabetics
  • Antipsychotics

The review includes specific sections for the analysis of the mechanisms of resistance to the colonization for the most important and prevalent intestinal pathogens:

  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Salmonella Typhimurium
  • Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
  • Sighella flexneri
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Listeria monocytogenes


A more comprehensive understanding of why the microbiota fail to confer sufficient colonization resistance could lead to development of specific therapies aiming to restore colonization resistance.

In conclusion, we reviewed many of the latest insights in the rapidly evolving fields of gut microbiota, colonization resistance, and bacterial enteric infection. We are looking forward to the coming years, when more knowledge on gut microbiota and CR will undoubtedly be gained, ultimately leading to more microbiota-based therapies.


Raquel Tobes