American Chemical Society
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Gut Microbiota Modulate the Metabolism of Brown Adipose Tissue in Mice

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posted on 2012-02-03, 00:00 authored by Renaud Mestdagh, Marc-Emmanuel Dumas, Serge Rezzi, Sunil Kochhar, Elaine Holmes, Sandrine P. Claus, Jeremy K. Nicholson
A two by two experimental study has been designed to determine the effect of gut microbiota on energy metabolism in mouse models. The metabolic phenotype of germ-free (GF, n = 20) and conventional (n = 20) mice was characterized using a NMR spectroscopy-based metabolic profiling approach, with a focus on sexual dimorphism (20 males, 20 females) and energy metabolism in urine, plasma, liver, and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Physiological data of age-matched GF and conventional mice showed that male animals had a higher weight than females in both groups. In addition, conventional males had a significantly higher total body fat content (TBFC) compared to conventional females, whereas this sexual dimorphism disappeared in GF animals (i.e., male GF mice had a TBFC similar to those of conventional and GF females). Profiling of BAT hydrophilic extracts revealed that sexual dimorphism in normal mice was absent in GF animals, which also displayed lower BAT lactate levels and higher levels of (D)-3-hydroxybutyrate in liver, plasma, and BAT, together with lower circulating levels of VLDL. These data indicate that the gut microbiota modulate the lipid metabolism in BAT, as the absence of gut microbiota stimulated both hepatic and BAT lipolysis while inhibiting lipogenesis. We also demonstrated that 1H NMR metabolic profiles of BAT were excellent predictors of BW and TBFC, indicating the potential of BAT to fight against obesity.