The immunological functions of the Appendix: An example of redundancy?

Girard-Madoux, Mathilde J H; Gomez de Agüero Tamargo, Maria de la Mercedes; Ganal-Vonarburg, Stephanie; Mooser, Catherine; Belz, Gabrielle T; Macpherson, Andrew; Vivier, Eric (2018). The immunological functions of the Appendix: An example of redundancy? Seminars in immunology, 36, pp. 31-44. Elsevier 10.1016/j.smim.2018.02.005

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Biological redundancy ensures robustness in living organisms at several levels, from genes to organs. In this review, we explore the concept of redundancy and robustness through an analysis of the caecal appendix, an organ that is often considered to be a redundant remnant of evolution. However, phylogenic data show that the Appendix was selected during evolution and is unlikely to disappear once it appeared. In humans, it is highly conserved and malformations are extremely rare, suggesting a role for that structure. The Appendix could perform a dual role. First, it is a concentrate of lymphoid tissue resembling Peyer's patches and is the primary site for immunoglobulin A production which is crucial to regulate the density and quality of the intestinal flora. Second, given its shape and position, the Appendix could be a unique niche for commensal bacteria in the body. It is extremely rich in biofilms that continuously shed bacteria into the intestinal lumen. The Appendix contains a microbiota as diverse as that found in the colon and could replenish the large intestine with healthy flora after a diarrhea episode. In conditions of modern medicine hygiene, and people live healthy without their appendix. However, several reports suggest that the effects of appendectomy could be subtler and associated with the development of inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), heart disease but also in less expected disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Lack of an Appendix also predicts a worsen outcome for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, which is the first nosocomial infection in hospitals. Here, we review the literature and in combination with our own data, we suggest that the Appendix might be redundant in its immunological function but unique as a reservoir of microbiota.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine > Gastroenterology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DBMR Forschung Mu35 > Forschungsgruppe Gastroenterologie / Mukosale Immunologie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DBMR Forschung Mu35 > Forschungsgruppe Gastroenterologie / Mukosale Immunologie

UniBE Contributor:

Gomez de Agüero Tamargo, Maria de la Mercedes; Ganal-Vonarburg, Stephanie; Mooser, Catherine and Macpherson, Andrew

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1096-3618

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thi Thao Anh Pham

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2019 08:50

Last Modified:

22 Jan 2019 08:50

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.smim.2018.02.005

PubMed ID:

29503124

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Appendix Caecal patch Microbiota Redundancy Secondary lymphoid organ

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.122386

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/122386

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