Gut microbiota, nutrient sensing and energy balance.

Research paper by F A FA Duca, T K T TK Lam

Indexed on: 10 Sep '14Published on: 10 Sep '14Published in: Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a highly specialized sensory organ that provides crucial negative feedback during a meal, partly via a gut-brain axis. More specifically, enteroendocrine cells located throughout the GI tract are able to sense and respond to specific nutrients, releasing gut peptides that act in a paracrine, autocrine or endocrine fashion to regulate energy balance, thus controlling both food intake and possibly energy expenditure. Furthermore, the gut microbiota has been shown to provide a substantial metabolic and physiological contribution to the host, and metabolic disease such as obesity has been associated with aberrant gut microbiota and microbiome. Interestingly, recent evidence suggests that the gut microbiota can impact the gut-brain axis controlling energy balance, at both the level of intestinal nutrient-sensing mechanisms, as well as potentially at the sites of integration in the central nervous system. A better understanding of the intricate relationship between the gut microbiota and host energy-regulating pathways is crucial for uncovering the mechanisms responsible for the development of metabolic diseases and for possible therapeutic strategies.