Objective: Gut microbiota has a key role in host metabolic regulation and immune response, and its dysbiosis represents one of the main causes of gastrointestinal diseases. In this scenario, Akkermansia muciniphila is a crucial player in keeping the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract.
Materials and methods: This review focuses on the correlation between gut microbiota and intestinal homeostasis, primarily exploring A. muciniphila and its involvement in the development of metabolic disorders and gastrointestinal diseases.
Results: Akkermansia muciniphila belongs to the Verrucomicrobia phylum, and it colonizes the mucus layer in the gastrointestinal tract, representing 1 to 4% of the fecal microbiota. It stimulates mucosal microbial networks, and it improves intestinal barrier function, providing crucial host immunological responses. Several studies have demonstrated the possible involvement of A. muciniphila in the development of intestinal and metabolic disorders. Indeed, adipose and glucose metabolisms are influenced by A. muciniphila, and its levels inversely correlate to inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and diabetes. Conversely, its therapeutic administration decreases their development.
Conclusions: A. muciniphila exerts a key role in the maintenance of intestinal health and in host metabolic modulation. Future studies could open new horizons towards its potential therapeutic applications in gastrointestinal and extra-intestinal diseases.