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Gut bacteria selectively promoted by dietary fibers alleviate type 2 diabetes

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1151-1156
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5774

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  • The human gut microbiota needs a comprehensive view
    • Qiuyun Liu, Professor, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    • Other Contributors:
      • Yulin Wan, Student, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
      • Shanshan An, Student, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

    Zhao et al. described that gut bacteria promoted by dietary fibers benefits humans via short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production and alleviated type 2 diabetes (1). Targeted restoration of these SCFA producers may constitute a path of treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with a novel approach of ecological management. However, the data on reduction of hemoglobin A1c levels, partly via enhanced glucagon-like peptide-1 production, may not shed light on the underlying mechanism of the aforementioned strategy.
    Glucose is rich in hydroxyl groups beside an aldehyde group, and possesses potent hydrogen bonding and secondary chemical bonding to other cations. Therefore, high glucose levels in diabetic patients result in frequent urination and increased thirst. The buildup of calcium and some other divalent cations triggers the formation of highly insoluble and rigid salts such as calcium oxalate (2, 3). The buildup of oxalate in T2DM patients may cause the long-term complications including cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis, stroke, etc. Compounds with similar structures to oxalate, such as ethanol and acetic acid, extend lifespans (4, 5). Glycolic acid is widely used in skin-care industry to reduce age-related wrinkles. Zhao et al. reported increased levels of acetic acid and butyric acid in the T2DM participants with intake of high-fiber diet. Being structurally similar to oxalate or oxaloacetate, acetate is capable of inhibiting oxaloacetate hydrolase...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Multiple metabolic functions link to modified gut microbiota

    Gut microbiota has a critical influence on the maintenance of gastrointestinal functions and other metabolic action. The latest report by Zhao et al. has shown that the beneficial effects of gut bacteria modulated by dietary fibers on the improvement of type 2 diabetes were mediated via the production of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) from carbohydrate fermentation and increased glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) (1). Nevertheless, the potential role of gut microbiota in metabolic functions remains worthwhile to elucidate.
    Gut microbiota has also been thought to modulate energy metabolism by multiple regulations (2). Some critical metabolites and metabolic pathways linked to gut microbial dysbiosis were involved in metabolic diseases to generate macrophage activation, atherosclerotic plaques and a series of inflammatory responses, including choline, trimethylamine/trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), SCFA (e.g., acetate, propionate and butyrate) pathway, uremic toxins (e.g., p-cresol sulfate and indoxyl sulfate), bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), primary and secondary bile acids (3, 4). Apart from the modification of glucose homeostasis, SCFA seemed to modulate metabolic functions linked to the activation of G protein-coupled receptors, such as energy signaling regulation, insulin sensitivity, fatty acid oxidation, appetite, thermogenesis, fat accumulation and blood pressure (5).
    Moreover, gut microbiota can be affected by dietary composition and intervention exhibiti...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.