Current Infectious Disease Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 25–30 | Cite as

The Role of the Manipulation of the Gut Microbiota in Obesity

Intra-abdominal Infections, Hepatitis, and Gastroenteritis (DA Bobak, Section Editor)


The manipulation of the gut microbiota by diet, antibiotics, or probiotics could promote, prevent, or reverse the development of specific diseases, including obesity. A link has been proposed between obesity and the growth promoters (probiotics and antibiotics) that have been used in animals for more than 40 years to induce weight gain. Several species of the Lactobacillus genus that are frequently used as probiotics for human consumption merit particular attention because they are increased in the gut microbiota under high-fat diets, are more abundant in obese humans, and are selected by growth-promoter antibiotics; moreover, the administration of these bacteria in experimental models is linked to the development of obesity. However, other species or strains of the same genus are associated with an antiobesity effect. Newborns and infants are a particularly susceptible population in which the administration of antibiotics or probiotics could be related to the development of obesity in adulthood.


Gut microbiota Manipulation Obesity Weight Antibiotics Probiotics Lactobacillus Bifidobacterium Weight gain Weight loss Newborns Bacteria Diet Meta-analysis Enterotypes 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as:• Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, CNRS UMR 7278, IRD 198, Faculté de MédecineAix-Marseille UniversitéMarseilleFrance

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