A new study has examined how bacterial and mammalian genomics interact to boost insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders.
The trillions of bacteria in the digestive system play a major role in the metabolism, and they’re linked to the risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity and the related conditions that make up “metabolic syndrome,” which has become a global health epidemic.
Humans and animal models with diabetes and obesity have different gut bacteria than those who don’t, and when scientists transfer microbiota from obese humans or animals to germ-free animals, the recipients are more likely to become obese or diabetic.
Now, in experiments in mice, researchers at Joslin Diabetes Centers have highlighted the ways in which the host’s genes interact with the microbial genes to create such conditions, says senior author C. Ronald Kahn.
As a result, these researchers found that one strain of mice which were genetically prone to become obese became resistant to excess weight gain after their populations of gut microbiota were transformed simply by an sharing an environment with other mice.
These scientists also were able to identify certain bacterial strains that appear to play a positive or negative role in diabetes, obesity or related metabolic disorders, depending, in part, on the host animal’s genetic makeup.
The study appears in Cell Metabolism.