The gut-liver-axis: Endotoxemia, inflammation, insulin resistance and NASH

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Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance. Cani PD, Amar J, Iglesias MA, Poggi M, Knauf C, Bastelica D, Neyrinck AM, Fava F, Tuohy KM, Chabo C, Waget A, Delmée E, Cousin B, Sulpice T, Chamontin B, Ferrières J, Tanti JF, Gibson GR, Casteilla L, Delzenne NM, Alessi MC, Burcelin R. Diabetes and obesity are two metabolic diseases characterized by insulin resistance and a low-grade inflammation. Seeking an inflammatory factor causative of the onset of insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes, we have identified bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a triggering factor. We found that normal endotoxemia increased or decreased during the fed or fasted state, respectively, on a nutritional basis and that a 4-week high-fat diet chronically increased plasma LPS concentration two to three times, a threshold that we have defined as metabolic endotoxemia. Importantly, a high-fat diet increased the proportion of an LPS-containing microbiota in the gut. When metabolic endotoxemia was induced for 4 weeks in mice through continuous subcutaneous infusion of LPS, fasted glycemia and insulinemia and whole-body, liver, and adipose tissue weight gain were increased to a similar extent as in high-fat-fed mice. In addition, adipose tissue F4/80-positive cells and markers of inflammation, and liver triglyceride content, were increased. Furthermore, liver, but not whole-body, insulin resistance was detected in LPS-infused mice. CD14 mutant mice resisted most of the LPS and high-fat diet-induced features of metabolic diseases. This new finding demonstrates that metabolic endotoxemia dysregulates the inflammatory tone and triggers body weight gain and diabetes. We conclude that the LPS/CD14 system sets the tone of insulin sensitivity and the onset of diabetes and obesity. Lowering plasma LPS concentration could be a potent strategy for the control of metabolic diseases. [Abstract reproduced by permission of Diabetes 2007;56:1761-72]. Selective increases of bifidobacteria in gut microflora improve high-fat-diet-induced diabetes in mice through a mechanism associated with endotoxaemia. Cani PD, Neyrinck AM, Fava F, Knauf C, Burcelin RG, Tuohy KM, Gibson GR, Delzenne NM. Aims/Hypothesis: Recent evidence suggests that a particular gut microbial community may favour occurrence of the metabolic diseases. Recently, we reported that high-fat (HF) feeding was associated with higher endotoxaemia and lower Bifidobacterium species (spp.) caecal content in mice. We therefore tested whether restoration of the quantity of caecal Bifidobacterium spp. could modulate metabolic endotoxaemia, the inflammatory tone and the development of diabetes. Methods: Since bifidobacteria have been reported to reduce intestinal endotoxin levels and improve mucosal barrier function, we specifically increased the gut bifidobacterial content of HF-diet-fed mice through the use of a prebiotic (oligofructose [OFS]). Results: Compared with normal chow-fed control mice, HF feeding significantly reduced intestinal Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria including levels of bifidobacteria, a dominant member of the intestinal microbiota, which is seen as physiologically positive. As expected, HF-OFS-fed mice had totally restored quantities of bifidobacteria. HF-feeding significantly increased endotoxaemia, which was normalised to control levels in HF-OFS-treated mice. Multiple-correlation analyses showed that endotoxaemia significantly and negatively correlated with Bifidobacterium spp., but no relationship was seen between endotoxaemia and any other bacterial group. Finally, in HF-OFS-treated-mice, Bifidobacterium spp. significantly and positively correlated with improved glucose tolerance, glucose-induced insulin secretion and normalised inflammatory tone (decreased endotoxaemia, plasma and adipose tissue proinflammatory cytokines). Conclusions/Interpretation: Together, these findings suggest that the gut microbiota contribute towards the pathophysiological regulation of endotoxaemia and set the tone of inflammation for occurrence of diabetes and/or obesity. Thus, it would be useful to develop specific strategies for modifying gut microbiota in favour of bifidobacteria to prevent the deleterious effect of HF-diet-induced metabolic diseases. [Abstract reproduced by permission of Diabetologia 2007;50:2374-83]. © 2008 European Association for the Study of the Liver.




Siebler, J., Galle, P. R., & Weber, M. M. (2008). The gut-liver-axis: Endotoxemia, inflammation, insulin resistance and NASH. Journal of Hepatology, 48(6), 1032–1034.

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