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Nanopinion: Fishing for novel interactions between nanomaterials and the immune system

In our latest guest column, Prof. Bengt Fadeel shares his experiments with zebrafish and what he discovered about the gut microbiome and 2D materials.

The gut microbiome (i.e., the collection of bacteria that dwell in our gut, primarily in the large bowel or colon) is sometimes considered as our “forgotten organ”. However, several studies published in recent years have shown that the gut microbiome regulates normal (physiological) responses. Hence, metabolic signals generated by the microbiome are known to modulate the immune system of the host. Naturally, the complex interactions between the microbiome and its host can only be studied in a living organism – but this doesn’t mean that mice are the best model. In fact, there are species differences also when it comes to the structure and function of the gut microbiome. Therefore, a model – such as the zebrafish – can be used to demonstrate a mechanism, but the same results cannot a priori be used to draw conclusions about “risk”.

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