Interactions Between Gut Microbiota and Host Metabolism Predisposing to Obesity and Diabetes

Annual Review of Medicine

Vol. 62:361-380 (Volume publication date February 2011)


Novel, culture-independent, molecular and metagenomic techniques have provided new insight into the complex interactions between the mammalian host and gut microbial species. It is increasingly evident that gut microbes may shape the host metabolic and immune network activity and ultimately influence the development of obesity and diabetes. We discuss the evidence connecting gut microflora to obesity and to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and we present recent insights into potential mechanisms underlying this relationship: increased nutrient absorption from the diet, prolonged intestinal transit time, altered bile acid entero-hepatic cycle, increased cellular uptake of circulating triglycerides, enhanced de novo lipogenesis, reduced free fatty acid oxidation, altered tissue composition of biologically active polyunsaturated fatty acid, chronic low-grade inflammation triggered by the endotoxin toll-like receptor 4 axis, and altered intestinal barrier function.