In industrialized societies the incidence of allergic diseases like atopic dermatitis, food allergies, and asthma has risen alarmingly over the last few decades. This increase has been attributed, in part, to lifestyle changes that alter the composition and function of the microbes that colonize the skin and mucosal surfaces. Strategies that reverse these changes to establish and maintain a healthy microbiome show promise for the prevention and treatment of allergic disease. In this Review, we will discuss evidence from preclinical and clinical studies that gives insights into how the microbiota of skin, intestinal tract, and airways influence immune responses in the context of allergic sensitization.
Andrea M. Kemter, Cathryn R. Nagler