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Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 7;21(6):1521-1533. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.056.

Dietary Uncoupling of Gut Microbiota and Energy Harvesting from Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in Mice.

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Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.
Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. Electronic address:


Evidence suggests that altered gut microbiota composition may be involved in the development of obesity. Studies using mice made obese with refined high-fat diets have supported this; however, these have commonly used chow as a control diet, introducing confounding factors from differences in dietary composition that have a key role in shaping microbiota composition. We compared the effects of feeding a refined high-fat diet with those of feeding either a refined low-fat diet or a chow diet on gut microbiota composition and host physiology. Feeding both refined low- or high-fat diets resulted in large alterations in the gut microbiota composition, intestinal fermentation, and gut morphology, compared to a chow diet. However, body weight, body fat, and glucose intolerance only increased in mice fed the refined high-fat diet. The choice of control diet can dissociate broad changes in microbiota composition from obesity, raising questions about the previously proposed relationship between gut microbiota and obesity.


SCFA; chow; energy harvest; glucose intolerance; gut; high-fat diet; microbiome; microbiota; obesity

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