Nutritional Immunology


Nutrition is critical to immune defence and resistance to pathogens, with consequences that affect the health, welfare, and reproductive success of individual organisms and also has profound ecological and evolutionary implications. In humans, under-nutrition, notably of protein, is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases, particularly in the developing world. Likewise, over-nutrition and its associated metabolic disorders may impair immune function, disrupt the relationship with symbiotic and commensal microbiota, and increase susceptibility to infectious disease. Despite the undoubted importance of nutrition to immune defence, the challenge remains to capture the complexity of this relationship. There are three main aspects to this complexity: (i) nutrition is a complex multi-dimensional problem for hosts, pathogens, and commensals; (ii) host immunity is a complex, multi-dimensional trait; and (iii) nutrition and immunity interact via multiple direct and indirect pathways, including involvement of the host's microbiota.


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