Obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and atherothrombosis: a role for the intestinal microbiota?

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Abstract

Whereas the association between intestinal microorganisms and health has been widely accepted in the area of infectious disease, recent advances have now implied a role for the intestinal microbiota in human energy balance. In fact, numerous studies support an intricate relationship between the intestinal microbiota and obesity, as well as subsequent insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Intestinal microorganisms also seem to be involved in haemostatic tone and atherogenesis. However, as most of the findings stem from observational data, intervention studies in humans using interventions selectively aimed at altering the composition and activity of the intestinal microbiota are crucial to prove causality. If substantiated, this could open the arena for modulation of the intestinal microbiota as a future target in obesity-associated disease, both as a diagnostic test for personalized algorithms and for selective therapeutic strategies.

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