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Review
, 11 (9), 639-47

The Gut Microbiota and Obesity: From Correlation to Causality

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Review

The Gut Microbiota and Obesity: From Correlation to Causality

Liping Zhao. Nat Rev Microbiol.

Abstract

The gut microbiota has been linked with chronic diseases such as obesity in humans. However, the demonstration of causality between constituents of the microbiota and specific diseases remains an important challenge in the field. In this Opinion article, using Koch's postulates as a conceptual framework, I explore the chain of causation from alterations in the gut microbiota, particularly of the endotoxin-producing members, to the development of obesity in both rodents and humans. I then propose a strategy for identifying the causative agents of obesity in the human microbiota through a combination of microbiome-wide association studies, mechanistic analysis of host responses and the reproduction of diseases in gnotobiotic animals.

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