The gut microbiota in human energy homeostasis and obesity

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep;26(9):493-501. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Numerous studies of rodents suggest that the gut microbiota populations are sensitive to genetic and environmental influences, and can produce or influence afferent signals that directly or indirectly impinge on energy homeostatic systems affecting both energy balance (weight gain or loss) and energy stores. Fecal transplants from obese and lean human, and from mouse donors to gnotobiotic mice, result in adoption of the donor somatotype by the formerly germ-free rodents. Thus, the microbiota is certainly implicated in the development of obesity, adiposity-related comorbidities, and the response to interventions designed to achieve sustained weight reduction in mice. More studies are needed to determine whether the microbiota plays a similarly potent role in human body-weight regulation and obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / microbiology*