Gut microbiota in health and disease: an overview focused on metabolic inflammation

Benef Microbes. 2016;7(2):181-94. doi: 10.3920/bm2015.0062. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


In concern to the continuously rising global prevalence of obesity, diabetes and associated diseases, novel preventive and therapeutic approaches are urgently required. However, to explore and develop such innovative strategies, a meticulous comprehension of the biological basis of these diseases is extremely important. Past decade has witnessed an enormous amount of research investigation and advancement in the field of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, with the gut microbiota receiving a special focus in the triangle of nutrition, health and diseases. In particular, the role of gut microbiota in health and diseases has been one of the most vigorous and intriguing field of recent research; however, much still remains to be elucidated about its precise role in host metabolism and immune functions and its implication in the onset, progression as well as in the amelioration of metabolic ailments. Recent investigations have suggested a significant contribution of the gut microbiota in the regulation and impairment of energy homeostasis, thereby causing metabolic disorders, such as metabolic endotoxemia, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Numerous inflammatory biomarkers have been found to be associated with obesity, diabetes and risk of other associated adverse outcomes, thereby suggesting that a persistent low-grade inflammatory response is a potential risk factor. In this milieu, this review intends to discuss potential evidences supporting the disturbance of the gut microbiota balance and the intestinal barrier permeability as a potential triggering factor for systemic inflammation in the onset and progression of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: intestinal microbiota; metabolic syndrome; obesity; probiotics; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / microbiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / microbiology*