Microbial Dynamics in Health and Disease


T HIRTY YEARS .AGO an American humorist published an account of an imaginary journey through the alimentary tract, which included a fanciful description of its ecology. Microbiologically, the alimentary and, more particularly, the gastrointestinal tract is still a jungle on the outside of the inside, regardless of how far man and many domestic animals have escaped from more primitive environments. Existing knowledge of the various microbial populations inhabiting different areas in the normal or healthy state is largely descriptive. Relatively little is known of the factors that operate in the maintenance of what, for lack of a better designation, is called the normal microbial f lora-that is, of factors that keep the various protozoal, bacterial, viral, and very likely, fungal populations in proper proport ion and balance with each other. Just how these balances relate to a state of wellbeing (or, perhaps, how the state of well-being maintains the parasite populations in health) still presents problems. Further development and application of gnotobiotic technics will probably contribute much in this regard. There is also relatively little information as to the mechanisms involved in the establishment of pathogenic microbes, with the resuhing manifestations of diarrhea and dysenteric disorders. Under these circumstances the pathogen usually becomes the predominating microorganism with a concomitant reduction in number and a derangement of the relative proportions of "normal" inhabiting populations. It is not clear just what antibiotic influences are exerted by rapidly proliferating pathogens, but their effect on the "normal bacterial flora" is often not unlike that produced by broad-spectrum antibiotics. These phenomena constitute problems in populat ion dynamics as they relate to factors that promote the emergence into predominance not only of the pathogen populat ion as such, but more specifically of the "virulent" elements of the pathogen population.

DOI: 10.1007/BF02236091

Cite this paper

@article{Buddingh1965MicrobialDI, title={Microbial Dynamics in Health and Disease}, author={G. John Buddingh}, journal={The American Journal of Digestive Diseases}, year={1965}, volume={10}, pages={836-838} }