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article imageInside the connection between bacterial toxins and obesity

By Tim Sandle     Jan 30, 2016 in Science
Scientists have made a connection between bacteria that reside in the human gut (specifically toxic by-products) and obesity. The research adds to the body of work about the microbiome.
New research has shown a pattern between a toxin produced by a certain morphological group of bacteria and obesity. The toxin is called "endotoxin." This substance, which is a component of the bacterial cell wall called lipopolysaccharide, is associated with Gram-negative bacteria (these are the types of bacteria associated with water, such as Pseudomonas species.) Endotoxins are capable of eliciting a pyrogenic response within the mammalian immune system, which means a fever-like reaction is triggered. For people with poor health, this can cause problems. Endotoxins are also capable of causing endotoxic shock.
Researchers have also discovered a new link with obesity. Writing in a new journal called Obesity Facts, Mexican scientists report on a previously unknown connection.
The research has found the gut microbiota (a descriptor for the microorganisms found in the intestines) affect human metabolism. With one group of bacteria in particular, the research suggests an imbalance in the types of microorganisms leads to an effect called “metabolic endotoxemia.” This level of bacterial endotoxin is, in turn, connected to weight gain and insulin resistance.
To demonstrate this, the researchers investigated the relationship between the gut microbiota composition, the endotoxin levels and the metabolic profile in both obese and normal-weight people. In total, 32 obese people were studied (with body mass indexes of more than 30) and 32 normal-weight subjects. The subjects were aged 18-25 years.
To study the bacteria, advanced molecular methods were used. A correlation was found between the levels of bacterial endotoxin, from an imbalance of certain bacteria and obesity. Moreover, the obese subjects had a higher body temperature than those of normal weight.
The findings suggest a new area of study (endotoxin) and add to the body of evidence about gut microorganisms and obesity.
The research findings are reported in a paper titled “Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Endotoxemia in Young Obese Mexican Subjects.”
More about Obesity, Bacteria, endotoxin, gramnegative, microbiome
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