Gut Microbiota Drives Metabolic Disease in Immunologically Altered Mice

Benoit Chassaing, Jesse D. Aitken, Andrew T. Gewirtz, Matam Vijay-Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

39 Scopus citations


The mammalian intestine harbors trillions of microbes collectively known as the microbiota, which can be viewed as an anaerobic metabolic organ that benefits the host in a number of ways. The homeostasis of this large microbial biomass is a prerequisite to maintaining host health by maximizing symbiotic interrelations and minimizing the risk of living in a close relationship. The cooperation between the innate and adaptive immune systems of the host maintains homeostasis of the microbiota. The dysregulation/alteration of microbiota in various immunodeficiency states including both innate and adaptive deficiency results in metabolic disease. This review examines the influence of microbiota on host metabolic health in immunologically altered mice. Accumulated data from a variety of immune-deficient murine models indicate that altered microbiota can play a key role in origination of metabolic diseases through the following potential mechanisms: (i) increasing calorie extraction resulting in adiposity, (ii) inducing low-grade chronic inflammation in the gut directly or increasing systemic loads of microbial ligands via leaky guts, (iii) generating toxic metabolites from dietary components, and (iv) inducing a switch from pro-metabolic to pro-immune phenotype that drives malabsorption of lipids resulting in muscle wastage and weight loss-particularly upon states of adaptive immune deficiency. Further, these murine models demonstrate that altered microbiota is not purely a consequence of metabolic disease but plays a key role in driving this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Immunology
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Immunology
ISSN (Print)0065-2776
ISSN (Electronic)1557-8445

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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