Gut Microbiota as a Target in the Pathogenesis of Metabolic Disorders: A New Approach to Novel Therapeutic Agents

Horm Metab Res. 2016 Jun;48(6):349-58. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-107792. Epub 2016 May 20.


As the prevalence of metabolic disorders increases dramatically, the importance of identifying environmental factors affecting metabolism control becomes greater accordingly. Gut microbiota, a complex ecosystem inhabiting the human gastrointestinal tract, is one of these potential factors. Recently, the evidence has shown the associations between alteration in gut microbiota composition and obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis. However, the causality of gut microbiota on metabolic health has yet to be explored in intervention studies and the underlying mechanisms need to be investigated more in depth. Gut microbiota plays critical roles in the control of immunity, food intake, lipid accumulation, production of short chain fatty acids, insulin signaling, and regulation of bone mass. The gut microbiota represents a novel potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of metabolic disorders. In this review, we provide insights into the role of the gut microbiota in metabolic disorders and its modulating interventions such as prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Diseases / microbiology*
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Osteoporosis / microbiology