Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Inflammation: what is the role of the blood microbiome?

Blood is not continuously sterile. Data from dental studies, blood donors, and random blood cultures document that "normal" human blood often harbors microbes. Sepsis only occurs when immunological regulatory systems fail. Growing evidence link subclinical, potentially transient bacteremia to cardiovascular and other diseases. Could many of the diseases associated with inflammatory markers represent either continuous or transient, intermittent bacteremia? Conceivably, the blood microbiome represents an evolutionary adaptation that optimizes the adaptive immune system but may also result in excessive immune response and/or disruptions to endothelial barriers.

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Idea No. 739