Most recent update: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 16:38

Bariatric News - Cookies & privacy policy

You are here

Gut bacterial composition

How gut bacterial composition affects metabolism

Study shows that the gut bacterial composition affects a number of other measurements, which have to do with the ability of the mice to convert carbohydrates and fats, and which affect the development of diseases such as T2DM
It cannot be concluded that bacterial communities from the overweight children affects the mice in a specific direction

Mice that receive gut bacteria transplants from overweight humans are known to gain more weight than mice transplanted with gut bacteria from normal weight subjects - even when the mice are fed the same diet – according to a study from the National Food Institute. According to the authors, the findings highlight the impact of donor variability and reveal that inter-individual spread of microbes contributes to the development of metabolic traits.

The paper, ‘Environmental spread of microbes impacts the development of metabolic phenotypes in mice transplanted with microbial communities from humans’, published in the ISME Journal, the investigators transferred bacterial communities from 32 children and adolescents – half of which were overweight and half within the normal weight range – into specially bred mice with no bacteria in their intestines. The researchers subsequently examined differences in weight gain and metabolism among the mice and compared these findings with the corresponding differences between the children, who had originally 'donated' the bacteria.

"The study, in which we have used gut bacteria from children, confirms results from previous studies among adults, which have shown that mice colonized with gut bacteria from overweight people gain more weight than mice whose intestines are colonised by bacteria from people within the normal weight range – even though they eat the same diet," said Professor Tine Rask Licht from the National Food Institute.

The new study is based on a larger number of humans than previous similar studies. As such it is possible to compare each mouse with their 'bacteria donor' and to examine other differences between the donors which are potentially transferred to the mice. Additionally, the researchers have investigated how the spread of bacteria between individual mice affects their digestion/metabolism.

The study design is different than previous studies within this field and as such the researchers are able to obtain new observations related to the effect of gut microbes on host metabolism.

The National Food Institute study has measured a larger amount of unspent energy in faeces from mice with the smallest weight gain.

"The bacterial community in the intestine of mice with the smallest weight gain has been less capable of converting dietary fibre in the feed, which partly explains the difference in weight between the animals," added Licht.

The study also shows that the gut bacterial composition affects a number of other measurements, which have to do with the ability of the mice to convert carbohydrates and fats, and which affect the development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes (e.g. levels of insulin and tryglycerides). However, it cannot be concluded that bacterial communities from the overweight children affects the mice in a specific direction e.g. in relation to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, the study shows that the spread of bacteria from mouse to mouse, which occurs e.g. through the keeper's handling, is enough to affect the measurements – and this is a completely new observation.

When interpreting studies such as this one it is important to keep in mind that not all gut bacteria from humans are able to establish themselves in the mouse intestine.

"The larger number of human 'bacteria donors' in our study has given us a unique opportunity to follow which of the human-derived bacteria that generally colonize the mouse gut, and which don't. This provides important insights for future research," concluded Licht.

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to Bariatric News!

Bariatric News
Keep up to date! Get the latest news in your inbox. NOTE: Bariatric News WILL NOT pass on your details to 3rd parties. However, you may receive ‘marketing emails’ sent by us on behalf of 3rd parties.