Gut Microbiome and Obesity: A Plausible Explanation for Obesity

Curr Obes Rep. 2015 Jun;4(2):250-61. doi: 10.1007/s13679-015-0152-0.


Obesity is a multifactorial disorder that results in excessive accumulation of adipose tissue. Although obesity is caused by alterations in the energy consumption/expenditure balance, the factors promoting this disequilibrium are incompletely understood. The rapid development of new technologies and analysis strategies to decode the gut microbiota composition and metabolic pathways has opened a door into the complexity of the guest-host interactions between the gut microbiota and its human host in health and in disease. Pivotal studies have demonstrated that manipulation of the gut microbiota and its metabolic pathways can affect host's adiposity and metabolism. These observations have paved the way for further assessment of the mechanisms underlying these changes. In this review we summarize the current evidence for possible mechanisms underlying gut microbiota induced obesity. The review addresses some well-known effects of the gut microbiota on energy harvesting and changes in metabolic machinery, on metabolic and immune interactions and on possible changes in brain function and behavior. Although there is limited understanding on the symbiotic relationship between us and our gut microbiome, and how disturbances of this relationship affects our health, there is compelling evidence for an important role of the gut microbiota in the development and perpetuation of obesity.

Keywords: brain-gut; energy harvest; inflammation; metabolomics; microbiota; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Bacteria*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Dysbiosis / complications*
  • Energy Metabolism* / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology