Gut Microbes and Health: A Focus on the Mechanisms Linking Microbes, Obesity, and Related Disorders

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 May;26(5):792-800. doi: 10.1002/oby.22175.


The past decade has been characterized by tremendous progress in the field of the gut microbiota and its impact on host metabolism. Although numerous studies show a strong relationship between the composition of gut microbiota and specific metabolic disorders associated with obesity, the key mechanisms are still being studied. The present review focuses on specific complex pathways as well as key interactions. For instance, the nervous routes are explored by examining the enteric nervous system, the vagus nerve, and the brain, as well as the endocrine routes (i.e., glucagon-like peptide-1, peptide YY, endocannabinoids) by which gut microbes communicate with the host. Moreover, the key metabolites involved in such specific interactions (e.g., short chain fatty acids, bile acids, neurotransmitters) as well as their targets (i.e., receptors, cell types, and organs) are briefly discussed. Finally, the review highlights the role of metabolic endotoxemia in the onset of metabolic disorders and the implications for alterations in gut microbiota-host interactions and ultimately the onset of diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / genetics*
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism