Increased serotonin release: How an intestinal bacteria promotes obesity

Increased serotonin release: How an intestinal bacteria promotes obesity

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Clostridium ramosum: bacterium promotes obesity

It has long been known that certain intestinal bacteria can have an impact on weight. One of them is Clostridium ramosum. Researchers have now found out how this bacterium promotes obesity.

Gut bacteria affect weight

In recent years, various scientific studies have shown that some intestinal bacteria can influence weight. Studies have shown that these bacteria control our feeling of satiety, trigger the yo-yo effect and can cause obesity. But how such effects come about is hardly understood. German researchers have now gained new insights into this.

Messenger substance serotonin is increasingly released

Researchers from the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DIfE) reported years ago that the bacterium Clostridium ramosum promotes obesity.

At that time, her results were published in "mBio®", the "Open Access Journal" of the "American Society for Microbiology".

Now a research team from DIfE was able to show how this effect comes about.

In the scientific report "Scientific Reports" they report that Clostridium ramosum causes the intestinal cells of mice to release more of the messenger serotonin.

As explained in a communication, serotonin promotes fat absorption from the intestine, which makes the fat deposits grow faster.

A hundred times smaller than a grain of sand

According to the information, Clostridium ramosum is a ten micrometer large bacterium and therefore around 100 times smaller than a grain of sand. The spore-forming microbe species is increasingly found in the gut of overweight people.

However, it is unclear whether those affected will gain weight as a result of the bacterium. The data situation is clearer in animal experiments.

"In previous studies with mice, we observed that Clostridium ramosum promotes obesity by increasing the number of fatty acid transporters in the intestine," said Professor Michael Blaut, head of the gastrointestinal microbiology department at DIfE.

The scientists were now following this trail. To do this, they examined mice and intestinal organoids.

These are obtained from stem cells and have similar properties to normal intestinal tissue. That is why they are also called "mini-intestines".

The research team observed that Clostridium ramosum causes the animals' intestines to produce more enterochromaffin-like cells. These specialized cells produce the messenger serotonin.

The bacterium can thus increase the concentration of serotonin in the intestine and increase the number of fatty acid transporters. A possible consequence for mouse and human: overweight.

"The study shows once again how strong the influence of a single bacterial species in the gut can be," emphasized Blaut.

Optimal multiplication on a high-fat diet

According to the experts, a high-fat diet in particular could be problematic. Because the bacteria reproduce optimally, especially on a high-fat diet.

"Our results provide an important indication of the interplay between diet, metabolism of the host and intestinal bacteria," said Dr. Ana Mandic, research assistant in the department that has been working on the project for almost three years.

In the next step, it is important to check to what extent Clostridium ramosum contributes to obesity in humans.

The researchers also want to find out whether the bacterium could be stopped by a certain diet and other microorganisms. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Your Gut Microbiome: The Most Important Organ Youve Never Heard Of. Erika Ebbel Angle. TEDxFargo (May 2022).