The microbiota-gut-brain axis in obesity

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Oct;2(10):747-756. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(17)30147-4. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Changes in microbial diversity and composition are increasingly associated with several disease states including obesity and behavioural disorders. Obesity-associated microbiota alter host energy harvesting, insulin resistance, inflammation, and fat deposition. Additionally, intestinal microbiota can regulate metabolism, adiposity, homoeostasis, and energy balance as well as central appetite and food reward signalling, which together have crucial roles in obesity. Moreover, some strains of bacteria and their metabolites might target the brain directly via vagal stimulation or indirectly through immune-neuroendocrine mechanisms. Therefore, the gut microbiota is becoming a target for new anti-obesity therapies. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the intricate gut-microbiota-host relationship and the potential of gut-microbiota-targeted strategies, such as dietary interventions and faecal microbiota transplantation, as promising metabolic therapies that help patients to maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Metagenomics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Reward


  • Prebiotics