Transmission of the gut microbiota: spreading of health

Hilary P Browne, B. Anne Neville, Samuel C. Forster, Trevor D Lawley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission of commensal intestinal bacteria between humans could promote health by establishing, maintaining and replenishing microbial diversity in the microbiota of an individual. Unlike pathogens, the routes of transmission for commensal bacteria remain unappreciated and poorly understood, despite the likely commonalities between both. Consequently, broad infection control measures that are designed to prevent pathogen transmission and infection, such as oversanitation and the overuse of antibiotics, may inadvertently affect human health by altering normal commensal transmission. In this Review, we discuss the mechanisms and factors that influence host-to-host transmission of the intestinal microbiota and examine how a better understanding of these processes will identify new approaches to nurture and restore transmission routes that are used by beneficial bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-543
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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