New research shows the importance of the intestinal microbiome in regards to the risk of obesity. Researchers at the University of Utah Health have in fact identified a class of bacteria present in the intestines of mice that prevents them from becoming obese. This class, called Clostridia, is part of the intestinal microbiome of rodents.
In the study, it is shown how mice that lose these bacteria during aging, even if fed with a healthy diet and in general even if healthy or with a compromised immune system, almost inevitably become obese. The researchers tried to introduce the intestines of these mice to these bacteria by returning them to the same levels that characterize the previous phases of the mice’s life and they noticed that this change allowed them to remain thin.
In fact, the Clostridia class bacteria prevent weight gain by blocking the gut’s ability to absorb fat. Mice treated with Clostridia also showed lower levels of a particular gene, called CD36, which is responsible for absorbing fatty acids from the body.
Now that they have discovered that bacteria responsible for thinness exist, the researchers, led by June Round, pathology professor, and Charisse Petersen, a graduate student at the time of the research, intend to understand what they really do and if the same discovery can be used for the creation of any slimming therapies for humans.
Precisely for this reason, they intend to isolate the molecules produced by the Clostridia bacteria to understand any possibility of targeted treatments for human obesity. “These bacteria have evolved to live with us and take advantage of us,” says Petersen.
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