The Gut-Brain Axis, the Human Gut Microbiota and Their Integration in the Development of Obesity.

Author: Bliss ES1, Whiteside E1
1School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia.
Conference/Journal: Front Physiol.
Date published: 2018 Jul 12
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Pages: 900 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00900. eCollection 2018. , Word Count: 265

Obesity is a global epidemic, placing socioeconomic strain on public healthcare systems, especially within the so-called Western countries, such as Australia, United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, where energy intake exceeds expenditure. Current non-invasive treatments lack efficacy in combating obesity, suggesting that obesity is a multi-faceted and more complex disease than previously thought. This has led to an increase in research exploring energy homeostasis and the discovery of a complex bidirectional communication axis referred to as the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis is comprised of various neurohumoral components that allow the gut and brain to communicate with each other. Communication occurs within the axis via local, paracrine and/or endocrine mechanisms involving a variety of gut-derived peptides produced from enteroendocrine cells (EECs), including glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1), cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide YY3-36 (PYY), pancreatic polypeptide (PP), and oxyntomodulin. Neural networks, such as the enteric nervous system (ENS) and vagus nerve also convey information within the gut-brain axis. Emerging evidence suggests the human gut microbiota, a complex ecosystem residing in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), may influence weight-gain through several inter-dependent pathways including energy harvesting, short-chain fatty-acids (SCFA) signalling, behaviour modifications, controlling satiety and modulating inflammatory responses within the host. Hence, the gut-brain axis, the microbiota and the link between these elements and the role each plays in either promoting or regulating energy and thereby contributing to obesity will be explored in this review.

KEYWORDS: cholecystokinin (CCK); glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1); gut-brain axis; lipopolysaccharide (LPS); microbiota; obesity; peptide YY3−36 (PYY); short-chain fatty-acids (SCFA)

PMID: 30050464 PMCID: PMC6052131 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00900