Interactions between Gut Microbiota, Host Genetics and Diet Modulate the Predisposition to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Cell Metab. 2015 Sep 1;22(3):516-530. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.007. Epub 2015 Aug 20.


Obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome result from complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors, including the gut microbiota. To dissect these interactions, we utilized three commonly used inbred strains of mice-obesity/diabetes-prone C57Bl/6J mice, obesity/diabetes-resistant 129S1/SvImJ from Jackson Laboratory, and obesity-prone but diabetes-resistant 129S6/SvEvTac from Taconic-plus three derivative lines generated by breeding these strains in a new, common environment. Analysis of metabolic parameters and gut microbiota in all strains and their environmentally normalized derivatives revealed strong interactions between microbiota, diet, breeding site, and metabolic phenotype. Strain-dependent and strain-independent correlations were found between specific microbiota and phenotypes, some of which could be transferred to germ-free recipient animals by fecal transplantation. Environmental reprogramming of microbiota resulted in 129S6/SvEvTac becoming obesity resistant. Thus, development of obesity/metabolic syndrome is the result of interactions between gut microbiota, host genetics, and diet. In permissive genetic backgrounds, environmental reprograming of microbiota can ameliorate development of metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Diet
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Genotype
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Weight Gain