Interactions between the host and intestinal microflora that maintain homeostasis in the gut
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The intestinal flora is increasingly recognized as an important determinant of human health. Commensal bacteria drive the maturation of the intestinal barrier and modulate the development and function of the mucosal immune system, and awareness is growing that changes in the microbiota also influence diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. However, many of the mechanisms that drive the interactions between the microbiota and the host remain to be elucidated. The aim of this thesis is to review the interplay between the gut microbiota and the host immune system, with emphasis on the events following birth and early bacterial colonization. A number of experiments will be performed as well, to demonstrate the ability of pathogens to penetrate the epithelium and invade epithelial cells.