Dietary-Induced Alteration in the Gut Microbiome and Its Potential Role in Obesity

Ezwaie, Ragheda Mohamed (2018-07-02)

The Function of Gut Microbiota: The human gut microbiome consists of several trillion microbes, which reside in the gastrointestinal tract with their genes that code for a wide array of effects on human physiology. Gut microbes ferment non-digestible polysaccharides, thereby producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which bind to the GPR 41/43 receptors on gut epithelial cells and stimulate peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) production. PYY and GLP-1 are gut-derived hormones that attenuate gut motility and facilitate the aggregation of the constitutive flora to ferment more. These gut-hormones also suppress appetite by delaying gastric emptying and centrally promoting satiation. SCFAs also promote gut barrier integrity and antagonize local and systemic inflammation, which drives insulin resistance and lipogenesis. The adiposity in the liver and skeletal muscles is also regulated by gut microorganisms via phosphorylated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) levels. In health, constitutive gut microbes maintain immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels to prevent colonization by enteric pathogens


The gut microbiome, a key constituent of the colonic environment, has been implicated as an important modulator of human health. Obesity has become a major health problem due to its increasing prevalence and its association with chronic disorders that include type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Although obesity is a result of a long-term imbalance between dietary intake and energy expenditure, dietary-induced alterations in the gut microbiome play an important role in the onset and development of this condition. Many studies have shown that by manipulating diet, it is possible to favor the engraftment of a specific bacterial strain over others to control obesity using the approach of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics. Metabolic changes due to the altered microbiome in obesity include enhanced energy extraction from food, lipogenesis, and insulin resistance. These therapeutic approaches to prevent and treat obesity by microbiome manipulation are being pursued in laboratories and are of growing interest to commercial companies and governments.

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