Transfer of dysbiotic gut microbiota has beneficial effects on host liver metabolism

Mol Syst Biol. 2017 Mar 16;13(3):921. doi: 10.15252/msb.20167356.


Gut microbiota dysbiosis has been implicated in a variety of systemic disorders, notably metabolic diseases including obesity and impaired liver function, but the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. To investigate this question, we transferred caecal microbiota from either obese or lean mice to antibiotic-free, conventional wild-type mice. We found that transferring obese-mouse gut microbiota to mice on normal chow (NC) acutely reduces markers of hepatic gluconeogenesis with decreased hepatic PEPCK activity, compared to non-inoculated mice, a phenotypic trait blunted in conventional NOD2 KO mice. Furthermore, transferring of obese-mouse microbiota changes both the gut microbiota and the microbiome of recipient mice. We also found that transferring obese gut microbiota to NC-fed mice then fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) acutely impacts hepatic metabolism and prevents HFD-increased hepatic gluconeogenesis compared to non-inoculated mice. Moreover, the recipient mice exhibit reduced hepatic PEPCK and G6Pase activity, fed glycaemia and adiposity. Conversely, transfer of lean-mouse microbiota does not affect markers of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Our findings provide a new perspective on gut microbiota dysbiosis, potentially useful to better understand the aetiology of metabolic diseases.

Keywords: gut microbiota transfer; hepatic glucose production; high‐fat diet; metabolic diseases; microbiome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dysbiosis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase / genetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (ATP) / genetics


  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (ATP)