The New Era of Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders: Evidence and Expectations for Gut Microbiome Transplantation

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2016 Feb 19;6:15. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2016.00015. eCollection 2016.


Key Points: The microbiome has been implicated in the development of obesity. Conventional therapeutic methods have limited effectiveness for the treatment of obesity and prevention of related complications. Gut microbiome transplantation may represent an alternative and effective therapy for the treatment of obesity. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Despite a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and growing treatment options, a significant proportion of obese patients do not respond to treatment. Recently, microbes residing in the human gastrointestinal tract have been found to act as an "endocrine" organ, whose composition and functionality may contribute to the development of obesity. Therefore, fecal/gut microbiome transplantation (GMT), which involves the transfer of feces from a healthy donor to a recipient, is increasingly drawing attention as a potential treatment for obesity. Currently the evidence for GMT effectiveness in the treatment of obesity is preliminary. Here, we summarize benefits, procedures, and issues associated with GMT, with a special focus on obesity.

Keywords: gut microbiome transplantation; microbiome; microbiota; obesity; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / therapy*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*