Gut bacteria signaling to mitochondria in intestinal inflammation and cancer

Gut Microbes. 2020 May 3;11(3):285-304. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2019.1592421. Epub 2019 Mar 26.


The gastrointestinal microbiome plays a pivotal role in physiological homeostasis of the intestine as well as in the pathophysiology of diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbiota signal to the mitochondria of mucosal cells, including epithelial cells and immune cells. Gut microbiota signaling to mitochondria has been shown to alter mitochondrial metabolism, activate immune cells, induce inflammasome signaling, and alter epithelial barrier function. Both dysbiosis of the gut microbiota and mitochondrial dysfunction are associated with chronic intestinal inflammation and CRC. This review discusses mitochondrial metabolism of gut mucosal cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, and known gut microbiota-mediated mitochondrial alterations during IBD and CRC.

Keywords: Colitis-associated cancer; colon cancer; inflammatory bowel disease; metabolism; microbiome; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Colitis / microbiology*
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Mitochondria / immunology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*