T, T, M A C D O N A L D Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, The Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK (Accepted for. publication 1 September 1995) INTRODUCTION During normal vaginal delivery the newborn human infant comes into contact with the maternal enteric bacteria contaminating the perineum. These bacteria rapidly colonize the infant's intestine, reaching concentrations of lO" per gram of stool [1,2] and remain throughout the life of the individual. The highest concentrations of bacteria are found in the mouth, terminal ileum and colon . The vast majority (99-9%) of the bacteria resident in the human intestine are obligate anaerobes and are very diverse, with at least 400 different species , The resident bacteria, often termed the autochthonous or indigenous flora, are not pathogenic except in cases of immune deficiency, and there is a steady physiological leak of small numbers of bacteria into the mesenteric lymph nodes and blood, a process termed translocation , IS THERE TOLERANCE TO THE BACTERIAL FLORA? The response to nominal antigens in the gastrointestinal tract is tolerance rather than immunity , Tolerance can occur through active suppression, anergy or apoptosis of antigenreactive cells. The question of whether tolerance exists
Clinical & Experimental Immunology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1995
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