Featured Articles

Volume 5 | No. 9 | Sept. 2016

The changing microbial landscape of Western society: Diet, dwellings and discordanceIn an anthropologic approach, Suzanne Devkota and Josiane Broussard suggest that post-industrialization changes to diet in conjunction with physical environments contribute to the rise in chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Their evolutionary take on (gut-) microbial selection due to Western diet and our self-inflicted restriction to mostly indoor-habitats and life-style choices create physical barriers for bacterial exposure. This review offers a general introduction on the subject with a lens on microbiome-host co-evolution and human health and diseases.

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How gut microbes talk to organs: The role of endocrine and nervous routesPatrice Cani and Claude Knauf review an extensive body of literature on the endocrine, enteric, and central signalling routes affected by gut microbiota. The authors emphasize new metabolites and molecules that mediate the bidirectional exchange of information and highlight underappreciated elements of inter-organ communication that bear potential for future therapeutic exploration.

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Microbial regulation of GLP-1 and L-cell biologyFredrik Bäckhed and Thomas Greiner discuss the differential sensing of microbial metabolites along the intestinal tract. Their review outlines morphological, functional, and molecular features in the enteroendocrine cells that line distinct parts of the gut. These differences are mirrored by distinct microbial species, highlighting the spatial complexity and functional adaptation in host-microbiota interactions.

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Causality of small and large intestinal microbiota in weight regulation and insulin resistanceMax Nieuwdorp et al. focus on the role of gut microbiota on host weight-regulation and the onset of insulin resistance. Notably, altered microbial composition (dysbiosis) has been linked to changes in gut permeability, dietary energy harvest, and satiety signals. These findings support personalized therapies such as fecal microbiota transfer or bariatric surgery and could make these procedures more successful in the future.

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Gut microbiota and immune crosstalk in metabolic diseaseThe impact of gut microbiota on the host’s immune system takes center stage in Remy Burcelin’s review. Starting from a ‘holobiont’ (the host in the context of its microbiome) perspective, the immune system is recognized as the first line of defense in protecting the host against damaging dysbiotic microbes. Conversely, the immune system should tolerate beneficial changes in the intestinal microbiota population. Hence, gut microbes could serve as informative biomarkers for the host’s immune status while vaccination strategies could help to protect from the onset of metabolically devastating dysbiosis.

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver and the gut microbiotaEmphasizing an emerging global health burden, Eran Elinav et al. take a close look at gut microbiota as the major environmental contributor to the onset and development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The review discusses multiple mechanisms of how microbiota may affect the gut-liver signaling axis in this very poorly understood condition. Summarizing new insights into NAFLD-pathologies, it also offers promising new directions for microbiota-based therapeutic interventions.

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Interactions between host genetics and gut microbiome in diabetes and metabolic syndromeDescribing their Interaction Model, Siegfried Ussar, Shiho Fujisaka, and C. Ronald Kahn highlight the importance of appropriate animal models in analyzing the complex interaction between the gut microbiome and host genetics. The authors also discuss how diet leads to differences in weight gain, levels of insulin resistance, and metabolic outcomes depending on the animal model used.

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The 60 Second Metabolist
In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

Watch the most recent interview by clicking the video still. The link "referring article" directs you to this author's publication.



Jennifer Lee
University of Toronto, Canada
Referring article

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