Gut bacteria exerts control over others organs too

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

LONDON - Gut bacteria may not just be helping digest food but could be exerting some control over the metabolic functions of other organs like the liver, says a new study.

These findings offer new understanding of the symbiotic relationship between humans and their gut microbes and how changes to the microbiota (microbial flora harboured by healthy individuals) can impact overall health.

“The gut microbiota enhances the host’s metabolic capacity for processing nutrients and drugs,” says Sandrine Claus of the Imperial College of London, study author, the journal mBio reports.

Claus and her colleagues exposed germ-free mice to bedding that had previously been used by conventional mice with normal microbiota and followed their metabolic profiles for 20 days to observe changes as they became colonized with gut bacteria.

Over the first five days after exposure, the mice exhibited a rapid increase in weight, according to an Imperial College statement.

Colonization also triggered a number of processes in the liver in which sugars (glucose) are converted to starch (glycogen) and fat (triglycerides) for short-term and long-term energy storage.

Statistical modelling between liver metabolic functions and bug populations determined that the levels of glucose, glycogen and triglycerides in the liver were strongly associated with a single family of bugs called Coriobacteriaceae.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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