The gut microbiota modulates host energy and lipid metabolism in mice.
The gut microbiota has recently been identified as an environmental factor that may promote metabolic diseases. To investigate the effect of gut microbiota on host energy and lipid metabolism, we compared the serum metabolome and the lipidomes of serum, adipose tissue, and liver of conventionally raised (CONV-R) and germ-free mice. The serum metabolome of CONV-R mice was characterized by increased levels of energy metabolites, e.g., pyruvic acid, citric acid, fumaric acid, and malic acid, while levels of cholesterol and fatty acids were reduced. We also showed that the microbiota modified a number of lipid species in the serum, adipose tissue, and liver, with its greatest effect on triglyceride and phosphatidylcholine species. Triglyceride levels were lower in serum but higher in adipose tissue and liver of CONV-R mice, consistent with increased lipid clearance. Our findings show that the gut microbiota affects both host energy and lipid metabolism and highlights its role in the development of metabolic diseases.DOI: 10.1194/jlr.M002774