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Gut microbiota in obesity and metabolic disorders

  • Yolanda Sanz (a1), Arlette Santacruz (a1) and Paola Gauffin (a1)

Abstract

Obesity is a major public health issue as it is causally related to several chronic disorders, including type-2 diabetes, CVD and cancer. Novel research shows that the gut microbiota is involved in obesity and metabolic disorders, revealing that obese animal and human subjects have alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota compared to their lean counterparts. Moreover, transplantation of the microbiota of either obese or lean mice influences body weight in the germ-free recipient mice, suggesting that the gut ecosystem is a relevant target for weight management. Indigenous gut microbes may regulate body weight by influencing the host's metabolic, neuroendocrine and immune functions. The intestinal microbiota, as a whole, provides additional metabolic functions and regulates the host's gene expression, improving the ability to extract and store energy from the diet and contributing to body-weight gain. Imbalances in the gut microbiota and increases in plasma lipopolysaccharide may also act as inflammatory factors related to the development of atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and body-weight gain. In contrast, specific probiotics, prebiotics and related metabolites might exert beneficial effects on lipid and glucose metabolism, the production of satiety peptides and the inflammatory tone related to obesity and associated metabolic disorders. This knowledge is contributing to our understanding of how environmental factors influence obesity and associated diseases, providing new opportunities to design improved dietary intervention strategies to manage these disorders.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Yolanda Sanz, fax +34 96 363 63 01, email yolsanz@iata.csic.es

References

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