Autoimmune diseases, mostly, are multifactorial diseases. Genome wide association and twin studies can, so far, only explain the etiology of autoimmune diseases partly (∼10-50%). A significant role for external (and epigenetic) factors therefore exists in this matter. The amount of microbes in close contact with our body outnumbers the total amount of cells in the human body by a factor 10, and 50% of these microbes are located in the colon. Therefore, the human immune system is continuously exposed to the gut microbiota. Apart from contributing to development of the immune system, it may also contribute to immune aberrances. Normally tolerance is maintained by the intestinal barrier function (compartmentalization), nevertheless during different circumstances this tolerance can be lost. This presentation will cover the (assumed) interactions of gut microbiota and immune cells in relation to autoimmune diseases.
Disclosure of Interest None declared