The Microbiota and Energy Balance
Human gut microbiota consists of trillions of microorganisms which participate actively in host metabolism. Recent advances in bioinformatic and molecular biology (bacterial genome sequencing) have allowed for exploring in depth the relationship between gut microbiota and obesity-associated metabolic disturbances. A large number of studies in animal models and humans indicate that gut microbiota is linked with the onset and development of metabolic disorders, such as obesity. The abundance and the composition of the gut microbiota are conditioned by metabolic state of the host, including the degree of obesity and insulin sensitivity, and by exogenous factors, such as diet and medication. Experiments in rodents demonstrated that the microbiota can modulate both energy balance and energy stores through the production of specific molecules. In this chapter, we will summarize the existing evidence supporting the possible role of gut microbiota and energy balance in both – animal and human – models, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these effects and potential novel therapeutic targets in obesity.
KeywordsGut microbiota Energy balance Obesity
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