Gut Microbes and Diet Interact to Affect Obesity  September 16, 2013

Gut microbes from lean people helped prevent mice from becoming obese—but only if the animals ate a healthy diet. This research could point the way to new treatments for obesity.

The human gut harbors a complex community of microbes that affect many aspects of our health. Evidence, mostly from studies of rodents, suggests that the gut microbiota may play a role in the development of obesity.

In earlier research, a team led by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon at the Washington University School of Medicine showed that obese and lean human twins have clear differences in their gut microbial communities. Most notably, the communities from obese twins have less diverse bacterial species. In their new study, the scientists used a mouse model to further explore the role that gut microbes play in obesity and metabolism. Their work was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). Read more