Chronic inflammatory diseases are a heterogeneous group of conditions associated with progressive inflammation-driven injury and impairment of physiological functions. These include canonical immune-mediated diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, psoriasis or multiple sclerosis; however, it is increasingly clear that many other common diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, are also driven by chronic inflammation. While the advent of new therapeutics has transformed the management of inflammatory diseases in recent decades, best-in-class therapeutic interventions remain inadequate, while the incidence of such chronic diseases is rising globally in association with population-level environmental changes in diet and living conditions, driving an ever-increasing humanitarian and societal burden.
Interactions between microbiome ecosystems and the human body play crucial roles in the body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens, develop a functional immune system and maintain homeostasis. Aberrant interactions between the microbiome and the host, leading to diverse forms of chronic inflammation, have been implicated in the onset and progression of many progressive chronic diseases, including but not limited to those affecting mucosal organs such as the gut, skin and lung. The impact of host-microbiome interactions on chronic inflammation-driven diseases may contribute to the dramatic impact of the environment, as evidenced by the evolving epidemiology of these diseases. The diversity of potential host-microbiome interactions at the level of individual patients may also contribute to their heterogeneous clinical manifestations and responses to available therapy.
While fundamental understanding of host-microbiome interactions has dramatically expanded in recent decades, there remain critical gaps in progress towards therapeutic interventions targeting these processes to address unmet medical needs. Notably, while currently available drugs can constrain inflammation downstream of host-microbiome interactions in chronic inflammatory diseases, clinical-stage strategies have not yet been conclusively demonstrated to specifically intercept these processes to therapeutic effect. Directly targeting host-microbiome interactions may represent a novel, differentiated and precise approach to address limitations of available approaches and address unmet needs of patients with chronic inflammatory diseases.
For this Collection, we invite articles addressing the following topics in the context of diseases associated with chronic inflammation:
- How do aberrant host-microbiome interactions contribute to disease onset and progression?
- Does patient-level heterogeneity in host-microbiome interaction contribute to risk of treatment-resistant manifestations and poor clinical outcomes?
- What novel therapeutic strategies, including pharmacological and dietary interventions, show promise to address unmet medical needs by directly targeting host-microbiome interactions?
- Can patient-level heterogeneity in disease-driving host-microbiome interactions enable precision medicine approaches?