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Nutritional Immunology: A Multi-Dimensional Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Published

  • Fleur Ponton
  • Kenneth Wilson
  • Sheena C. Cotter
  • David Raubenheimer
  • Stephen J. Simpson
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Journal publication date12/2011
JournalPLoS pathogens
Journal number12
Volume7
Number of pages4
Pages-
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Nutrition is critical to immune defence and resistance to pathogens, with consequences that affect the health, welfare, and reproductive success of individual organisms [1], [2], and also has profound ecological and evolutionary implications [3]–[5]. In humans, under-nutrition, notably of protein, is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases, particularly in the developing world [1]. Likewise, over-nutrition and its associated metabolic disorders may impair immune function, disrupt the relationship with symbiotic and commensal microbiota, and increase susceptibility to infectious disease [6]. Despite the undoubted importance of nutrition to immune defence, the challenge remains to capture the complexity of this relationship. There are three main aspects to this complexity: (i) nutrition is a complex multi-dimensional problem for hosts, pathogens, and commensals; (ii) host immunity is a complex, multi-dimensional trait; and (iii) nutrition and immunity interact via multiple direct and indirect pathways, including involvement of the host's microbiota.