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Severe obesity and gut microbiota: does bariatric surgery really reset the system?
  1. Patrice D Cani
  1. Correspondence to Professor Patrice D Cani, Université catholique de Louvain, WELBIO—Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and BIOtechnology, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Brussels B-1200, Belgium; patrice.cani{at}

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The gut microbiota is considered as one of the relevant contributors involved in the complex causes of obesity and related metabolic disorders. Indeed, a plethora of publications describing the composition of the microbiota in subjects suffering from overweight or obesity as well as type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases are available (for review1 2). Conversely, the characteristics of the microbiome in extreme forms of obesity (ie, severe and morbid Body Mass Index >35–40 kg/m2) has been barely described.

Bariatric surgery has dramatically increased worldwide and is now appearing as a solution to reduce cardiovascular risks and diabetes, thereby leading to consider this surgical procedure as a ‘metabolic surgery’.3 4 Interestingly, one of the key features of the microbiome characterising obesity is the so-called low microbial gene richness, which strongly correlates with metabolic disorders such as low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, adipocyte size but also chance of success to respond to dietary intervention.5 6 However, we lack comprehensive data exploring the impact of bariatric surgery on severe obesity and the evolution of the microbiome (ie, composition, gene richness and activity) at several time points after the surgical intervention. Indeed, although some studies demonstrated changes in gut microbiota composition after bariatric surgery, most of the investigations were performed using different techniques (eg, qPCR, 16S rDNA sequencing) in a small cohort of subjects and only very few of them used whole metagenome sequencing.

In GUT, Aron-Wisnewski and colleagues have recently filled this gap …

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  • Contributors PDC wrote the commentary.

  • Funding PDC is a senior research associate at FRS-FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique), recipient of grants from FNRS (FRFS-WELBIO-WELBIO-CR-2017C-02), The Excellence Of Science (EOS-30770923), the Funds Baillet Latour (Grant for Medical Research 2015) and ERC Starting Grant 2013 (336452-ENIGMO).

  • Competing interests PDC is inventor on patent applications dealing with the use of A. muciniphila and its components in the treatment of obesity and related disorders. PDC is co-founder of A-Mansia Biotech SA.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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