Gut microbiome production of short-chain fatty acids and obesity in children
Obesity has been a worldwide multifactorial epidemic malady for the last 2 decades. Changes in gut microbiota composition and its metabolites — short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) — have been associated with obesity. Recent evidence suggests that SCFAs made by the gut microbiota may regulate directly or indirectly physiological and pathological processes in relation to obesity. We review the influence of gut microbiota in energy, glucose, and lipid homeostasis control via their metabolites. Gut microbial disturbances in obese children may have a role in their metabolism. At first glance, excessive short-chain fatty acids produced by a particular gut microbiota represent an additional energy source, and should cause an imbalance in energy regulation, contributing to obesity. However, simultaneously, SCFA participates in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from the pancreatic β-cells through interaction with the FFA2 and FFA3 receptors, and release of peptide hormones which control appetite. This apparent contradictory situation may indicate the involvement of additional particular bacteria or bacterial components or metabolites that may trigger regulatory cascades by interaction with some G-protein-coupled membrane receptors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
- 1.OECD (2014) Obesity Update 2014. http://www.oecd.org/health/obesity-update.htm
- 2.WHO (2012) Population-based approaches to childhood obesity prevention. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2012. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/80149/1/9789241504782_eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed March 2017
- 46.Nirmalkar K, Murugesan S, Pizano-Zárate ML et al (2016) Endothelial dysfunction in Mexican obese children, is there a role of the gut microbiota? Obes Control Ther 3(1):1–4Google Scholar
- 49.Marques FZ, Mackay CR, Kaye DM (2017) Beyond gut feelings: how the gut microbiota regulates blood pressure. Nat Rev Cardiol Aug 24 [Epub before print]. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrcardio.2017.120
- 58.Kaji I, Akiba Y, Furuyama T et al (2017) Free fatty acid receptor 3 activation suppresses neurogenic motility in rat proximal colon. Neurogastroenterol Motil. https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.13157