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February 07, 2018 Wednesday 04:29:07 PM IST

Reason for obesity is in your guts!

Science Innovations

7th February, 2018: The intestines of a person is the abode of microbiome, it is a “garden” of bacterial, viral and fungal genes. A new study due to the researchers of Johns Hopkins University suggests that this microbiome has an important role to play in the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mammals, including humans. This discovery paves way for a new method to prevent obesity and diabetes by manipulating levels and ratios of gut bacteria, and/or modifying the chemical and biological pathways for metabolism-activating genes. A report of the research is published recently in Mucosal Immunology.

“This study adds to our understanding of how bacteria may cause obesity, and we found particular types of bacteria in mice that were strongly linked to metabolic syndrome,”; says David Hackam, the surgeon-in-chief and co-director of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and senior author of the study. “With this new knowledge we can look for ways to control the responsible bacteria or related genes and hopefully prevent obesity in children and adults.”

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including obesity around the waist, high blood sugar and increased blood pressure, is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Previous studies to suggest that the bacterial sensor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) may be responsible in part for its development.

The researchers were successful in controlling the bacterial levels of the gut of an experimental mouse in order to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome.


“All of our experiments imply that the bacterial sensor TLR4 regulates both host and bacterial genes that play previously unrecognized roles in energy metabolism leading to the development of metabolic syndrome in mice,” says Hackam.

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