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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2015 Jul;39(4):509-21. doi: 10.1093/femsre/fuu010. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

Microbial endocrinology: the interplay between the microbiota and the endocrine system.

Author information

1
Faculty of medicine, Bar-Ilan University, 1311502 Safed, Israel.
2
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
3
Faculty of medicine, Bar-Ilan University, 1311502 Safed, Israel Omry.Koren@biu.ac.il.

Abstract

The new field of microbiome research studies the microbes within multicellular hosts and the many effects of these microbes on the host's health and well-being. We now know that microbes influence metabolism, immunity and even behavior. Essential questions, which are just starting to be answered, are what are the mechanisms by which these bacteria affect specific host characteristics. One important but understudied mechanism appears to involve hormones. Although the precise pathways of microbiota-hormonal signaling have not yet been deciphered, specific changes in hormone levels correlate with the presence of the gut microbiota. The microbiota produces and secretes hormones, responds to host hormones and regulates expression levels of host hormones. Here, we summarize the links between the endocrine system and the gut microbiota. We categorize these interactions by the different functions of the hormones, including those affecting behavior, sexual attraction, appetite and metabolism, gender and immunity. Future research in this area will reveal additional connections, and elucidate the pathways and consequences of bacterial interactions with the host endocrine system.

KEYWORDS:

endocrine system; germfree; hormones; immunity; microbiome; microbiota

PMID:
25701044
DOI:
10.1093/femsre/fuu010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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