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Pharmacol Ther. 2011 May;130(2):202-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.01.012. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

The gut microbiome as therapeutic target.

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1
Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Brussels, Belgium. patrice.cani@uclouvain.be

Abstract

Obesity, type-2 diabetes and low-grade inflammation are becoming worldwide epidemics. In this regard, the literature provides a novel concept that we call "MicrObesity" (Microbes and Obesity), which is devoted to deciphering the specific role of dysbiosis and its impact on host metabolism and energy storage. In the present review, we discuss novel findings that may partly explain how the microbial community participates in the development of the fat mass development, insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation that characterise obesity. In recent years, numerous mechanisms have been proposed and several proteins identified. Amongst the key players involved in the control of fat mass development, Fasting induced adipose factor, AMP-activated protein kinase, G-protein coupled receptor 41 and G-protein coupled receptor 43 have been linked to gut microbiota. In addition, the discovery that low-grade inflammation might be directly linked to the gut microbiota through metabolic endotoxaemia (elevated plasma lipopolysaccharide levels) has led to the identification of novel mechanisms involved in the control of the gut barrier. Amongst these, the impacts of glucagon-like peptide-2, the endocannabinoid system and specific bacteria (e.g., Bifidobacterium spp.) have been investigated. Moreover, the advent of probiotic and prebiotic treatments appears to be a promising "pharmaco-nutritional" approach to reversing the host metabolic alterations linked to the dysbiosis observed in obesity. Although novel powerful molecular system biology approaches have offered great insight into this "small world within", more studies are needed to unravel how specific changes in the gut microbial community might affect or counteract the development of obesity and related disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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