Gut microbiota and metabolic disease: from pathogenesis to new therapeutic strategies

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Gut microbiota is well known to regulate and maintain host metabolic and immune function. Change in stability and diversification of gut microbiota can affect progression of many metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and so on. Studies on the association of the gut microbiota and host diseases are therefore significant, shedding light on the understanding of the role of gut microbiota in the development of such disease. In particular, human and animal model studies have explained how qualitative and quantitative alterations in the composition of gut microbiota are able to have an influence on the intestinal barrier, immune regulation, substance metabolism, nutrient absorption, energy distribution, toxin education, and so on. At the same time, these data suggest that species of intestinal commensal bacteria may play either a pathogenic or protective role in the development of metabolic diseases. The oral probiotic/prebiotic represents a possible therapeutic for improving metabolic diseases. However, the available data in this field remain limited, and the relevant scientific work has only just begun; especially, at present, new technologies have allowed the attempt at a systematic intestinal bacterial flora study, giving more realistic information about its composition and its pathological variance.

In this review, we summarize the aggravation or improvement of metabolic diseases by the role of gut microbiota, and probiotic/prebiotic treatment with the help of available literature.

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