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Evolution, the Immune System, and the Health Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequality

Rook, Graham AW; (2022) Evolution, the Immune System, and the Health Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequality. mSystems , 7 (2) , Article e01438-21. 10.1128/msystems.01438-21. Green open access

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Abstract

Healthy development and function of essentially all physiological systems and organs, including the brain, require exposure to the microbiota of our mothers and of the natural environment, especially in early life. We also know that some infections, if we survive them, modulate the immune system in relevant ways. If we study the evolution of the immune and metabolic systems, we can understand how these requirements developed and the nature of the organisms that we need to encounter. We can then begin to identify the mechanisms of the beneficial effects of these exposures. Against this evolutionary background, we can analyze the ways in which the modern urban lifestyle, particularly for individuals experiencing low socioeconomic status (SES), results in deficient or distorted microbial exposures and microbiomes. Thus, an evolutionary approach facilitates the identification of practical solutions to the growing scandal of health disparities linked to inequality.

Type: Article
Title: Evolution, the Immune System, and the Health Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequality
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1128/msystems.01438-21
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1128/msystems.01438-21
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Rook. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: brain development, evolutionary biology, immune dysfunction, immune regulation, microbiota, socioeconomic status
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10159924
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