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Cell Metab. 2015 Sep 1;22(3):516-530. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.007. Epub 2015 Aug 20.

Interactions between Gut Microbiota, Host Genetics and Diet Modulate the Predisposition to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.

Author information

Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215.
Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Diabetes Center at Helmholtz Center Munich, Munich, 85764, Germany.
Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108.
Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108.
Center for Clinical and Translational Metagenomics, Department of Pathology, Brigham & Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 021115.
Contributed equally

Erratum in

  • Cell Metab. 2016 Mar 8;23(3):564-6.


Obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome result from complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors, including the gut microbiota. To dissect these interactions, we utilized three commonly used inbred strains of mice-obesity/diabetes-prone C57Bl/6J mice, obesity/diabetes-resistant 129S1/SvImJ from Jackson Laboratory, and obesity-prone but diabetes-resistant 129S6/SvEvTac from Taconic-plus three derivative lines generated by breeding these strains in a new, common environment. Analysis of metabolic parameters and gut microbiota in all strains and their environmentally normalized derivatives revealed strong interactions between microbiota, diet, breeding site, and metabolic phenotype. Strain-dependent and strain-independent correlations were found between specific microbiota and phenotypes, some of which could be transferred to germ-free recipient animals by fecal transplantation. Environmental reprogramming of microbiota resulted in 129S6/SvEvTac becoming obesity resistant. Thus, development of obesity/metabolic syndrome is the result of interactions between gut microbiota, host genetics, and diet. In permissive genetic backgrounds, environmental reprograming of microbiota can ameliorate development of metabolic syndrome.

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