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Gut bacteria

One species of gut bacteria reverses T2DM

Abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila decreased in obese and type 2 diabetic mice

One specific type of gut bacteria has been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes and dramatically decrease fat mass, according to researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that Akkermansia muciniphila, a single species of bacteria, dramatically altered the health of obese mice.

“This study provided unique and substantial insights into the intricate regulation of the cross-talk between the host and Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria,” write the researchers. “These results provide a rationale for the development of a treatment that uses this human mucus colonizer for the prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders.”

Akkermansia muciniphila is a mucin-degrading bacterium that resides in the mucus layer and its presences inversely correlates with body weight in rodents and humans. Nevertheless, the authors note that its precise physiological role/s during obesity and metabolic disorders are unknown.

The study demonstrated that the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila decreased in obese and type 2 diabetic mice and that prebiotic feeding normalized Akkermansia muciniphila abundance, which correlated with an improved metabolic profile.

Mice on a high fat diet, which led them to put on two to three times more fat than normal weight mice, were fed the bacteria. The mice remained bigger than the normal weight mice, but had lost around half of their extra weight despite no other changes to their diet. They also had lower levels of insulin resistance.

Importantly they were able to demonstrated that Akkermansia muciniphila treatment reversed high-fat diet-induced metabolic disorders, including fat-mass gain, metabolic endotoxemia and adipose tissue inflammation.

“Germ-free mice that were monoassociated with Akkermansia muciniphila exhibit important modulations of gene expression; the most marked changes were observed in the colon (442 genes), followed by the ileum (253 genes) and the cecum (211 genes) (26),” the authors report. “In the colon, 60 genes, including 16 genes encoding CD antigen markers and ten genes encoding immune cell membrane receptors, were up-regulated after A. muciniphila colonization.”

They also note that Akkermansia muciniphila administration also increased the intestinal levels of endocannabinoids that control inflammation, the gut barrier, and gut peptide secretion.

“We did not completely reverse the obesity, but it is a very strong decrease in the fat mass,” said lead author of the study, Professor Patrice Cani, Catholic University of Leuven. “Of course it is an improvement, we did not completely reverse the obesity, but it is a very strong decrease in the fat mass.”

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