The intestinal microbiota involved in metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and diabetes: an elevated waist measurement, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL cholesterol,  increased blood pressure and fasting blood glucose. Changes in the intestinal microbiota have previously been associated with metabolic diseases, particularly obesity and type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms are still poorly understood.

Important data were obtained from studies in mice, showing that, in metabolic diseases, bacteria in the intestinal microbiota are able to infiltrate the mucus layer that covers the digestive wall, causing the chronic inflammation at the root of metabolic diseases. The authors of a recent study observed the same phenomenon in patients presenting with blood sugar disorders: they found that, in diabetic patients, the intestinal bacteria were able to penetrate the normally sterile mucus layer.

Moreover, the distance between the intestinal microbiota bacteria and the colon wall was inversely proportional to the severity of type 2 diabetes. Confirming the results previously obtained in animals, this discovery opens a new field of investigation into the role the position of the intestinal microbiota plays in type 2 diabetes.


Benoit Chassaing et al. Colonic Microbiota Encroachment Correlates With Dysglycemia in Humans. Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 7 June 2017.