Numerous commensal bacteria present in the gut microbiota produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) particularly acetate, butyrate and propionate. These SCFA’s have been associated with several biological effects upon host. Growing evidence suggests that specific microbes such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia muciniphila have favorable effects on intestinal inflammation and obesity, respectively (Sokol et al. PNAS 2008, Everard et al. PNAS 2013). However, the direct implication of these microbes on intestinal transcriptional response is unknown.
Bright-field images of mouse small-intestinal organoids cultured in Matrigel for 1 (A), 3 (B), and 7 (C) days after splitting. Lukovac S et al. doi:10.1128/mBio.01438-14
Using an elegant model of intestinal organoids, Sabina Lukovac, Clara Belzer and colleagues have demonstrated that despite the fact that A. muciniphila and F. prausnitzii are both considered as beneficial microbes impacting on intestinal barrier they differently affect transcriptional response of organoids upon exposure of SCFAs and products generated by these two specific microbes.
In this study published in mBIO (Lukovac, Belzer et al. mBIO August 2014) the authors found that A. muciniphila affects the expression of several genes involved in host lipid metabolism (i.e., FIAF, GPR43, PPARg) and epigenetic or silencing of gene expression (i.e., histone deacetylase (HDAC’s)) whereas F. prausnitzii products exerted a weak effects on host transcription.
Although these results have been observed in an ex-vivo model, such as organoids, this model provides an interesting powerful tool to investigate host-microbiome interactions studies at the levels of intestinal epithelial cells.
Patrice D. Cani Professor Patrice D. Cani is researcher from the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS), group leader in the Metabolism and Nutrition research group at the Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI) from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Brussels, Belgium, and WELBIO (Walloon Excellence in Lifesciences and BIOtechnology) investigator.
He is currently member of several international associations, he is member of the Alumni College from the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, and he has been elected in the board of directors of the LDRI (UCL). Patrice D. Cani has a M.Sc. in Nutrition and another M.Sc. in health Sciences, he is registered dietitian and PhD in Biomedical Sciences. His main research interests are the investigation of the role of the gut microbiota in the development of metabolic disorders, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and low grade inflammation. More specifically, he is investigating the interactions between the gut microbiota, the host and specific biological systems such as the endocannabinoid system and the innate immune system in the context of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic inflammation.
Prof Cani is author and co-author of more than 110 scientific research papers published in peer-reviewed international journals, conferences and book chapters.