Crosstalk between the gut microbiota and the endocannabinoid system: impact on the gut barrier function and the adipose tissue

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Jul:18 Suppl 4:50-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03866.x.


Obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and low grade inflammation. The gut microbiota is now considered as one of the most important environmental factors impacting on host physiology and metabolism. We have recently pointed out the role of this 'organ' on the onset of insulin resistance and the low grade inflammatory tone characterizing obesity. Among the mechanisms, we have introduced the novel concept of metabolic endotoxaemia as factor triggering low grade inflammation and associated disorders. More recently, two novel mechanisms involved in the development of gut permeability and adipose tissue plasticity have been identified. Specific attention has been paid to the role of the glucagon-like peptide 2 and the endocannabinoid system. This review briefly discusses the role of prebiotics as a key tool to modulate the gut microbiota, the gut barrier function, inflammation and the insulin resistance associated with obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metagenome*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prebiotics / microbiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / metabolism*


  • Prebiotics
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid