DEC 15, 2015 11:57 AM PST

Gut Bacteria Guard Your Waistline

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
Researchers are one step closer to understanding how changes in the gut microbiome lead to obesity.

A University of Iowa study determined that the gut microbes of people taking risperidone, an antipsychotic drug that causes weight gain, were significantly altered.  They dug a little deeper and found that, in mice, the weight gain was caused by a decrease in the resting metabolic rate (a measure of the amount of energy used when at rest, especially while sleeping).  
 
Changes in the gut microbiome can lead to obesity.

Weight gain in the risperidone-treated mice was, on average, equivalent to 10% of total body mass, and the drug altered the composition of gut bacteria.  These results backed previous studies in humans. According to study author John Kirby, “the control mice gain a little weight as they age and their microbiome undergoes a 'healthy shift' due to aging.  With the risperidone, the mice become obese and exhibit an alternative, less healthy shift in their microbiome”.

They measured the aerobic and anaerobic resting metabolic rates of the mice using a “total calorimetry machine”.  They did not find a significant change in the aerobic rate, but found a 16% decrease in the resting aerobic rate of risperidone-treated mice.  For a human, such a change translates to a weight gain of 29 pounds a year!

Finally, they showed that the altered microbiome itself was responsible for the weight gain.  They transferred gut microbes from risperidone-treated mice into control mice and saw the same decrease in resting metabolic rate, as well as the associated weight gain.  

What’s more, they could recreate the changes in metabolic rate and weight by transferring only bacteriophage from the risperidone-treated mice into control mice.  This finding alone demonstrates just how complex the microbiome really is!

Source: Eurekalert, Wikipedia
 
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
JUN 21, 2020
Microbiology
Poor Oral Hygiene May Worsen Gut Inflammation
JUN 21, 2020
Poor Oral Hygiene May Worsen Gut Inflammation
Good dental hygiene benefits more than just the teeth and gums; researchers have found that poor oral health can contrib ...
JUL 13, 2020
Microbiology
New Gene Editor Can Alter Mitochondrial DNA
JUL 13, 2020
New Gene Editor Can Alter Mitochondrial DNA
There is intense competition for resources in the microbial world, and bacteria have an arsenal of weapons to help them ...
AUG 05, 2020
Microbiology
Revealing the Secrets of a Symbiotic Relationship
AUG 05, 2020
Revealing the Secrets of a Symbiotic Relationship
Some salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) have a strange relationship with a type of alga (Oophila amblystomatis): they are ...
AUG 18, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Discover Mechanism to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
AUG 18, 2020
Researchers Discover Mechanism to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
Researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute have discovered a method used by bacteria to develop antibio ...
SEP 09, 2020
Microbiology
Changing How We Think of Drug Resistance in Fungi
SEP 09, 2020
Changing How We Think of Drug Resistance in Fungi
It's been estimated that fungal infections cause more than one million deaths worldwide, and many more are affected.
SEP 22, 2020
Cardiology
Mosquito-Borne Illnesses are Linked to Stroke
SEP 22, 2020
Mosquito-Borne Illnesses are Linked to Stroke
Mosquitoes are major disease vectors; they are considered the world's deadliest animal because they kill so many people.
Loading Comments...