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A field currently attracting increasing interest concerns the possible role that the intestinal microbiota might play in human health and disease. The fact that novel sequencing approaches applied to the microbiota genome are available has definitely favoured the rapid development of this field. The recent re-emergence in this area began with studies on obesity and metabolic diseases. Various associations between microbiota composition and metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes have been reported, in both rodents and humans, emphasising the key role of dietary habits in the composition of the bacterial population.1–3 However, experiments aimed at changing microbiota composition and transferring/exchanging the intestinal microbiota to alter the metabolism of the host have proved somewhat controversial and failed to unequivocally establish a causal role for the gut microbiota in metabolic diseases.4 Whatever the case, it is noteworthy that a specific bacterium, Akkermansia muciniphila, an abundant constituent of the gut microbiota in healthy humans, has been demonstrated to correct host metabolic disorders when given by gavage as a probiotic in obese insulin-resistant mice.2 Nowadays, interest in the role of intestinal microbiota in …
Contributors GM has written the commentary.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.