Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Gut microbiota — at the intersection of everything?


Over the past decade, numerous studies have found an association between the gut microbiota composition and many diseases. However, is it reality? Or is the truth hidden in the shadow of several thousand publications a year with inflated expectations in almost any disease?

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Gut microorganisms at the intersection of several diseases.


  1. Sender, R., Fuchs, S. & Milo, R. Are we really vastly outnumbered? Revisiting the ratio of bacterial to host cells in humans. Cell 164, 337–340 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Thaiss, C. A. et al. Microbiota diurnal rhythmicity programs host transcriptome oscillations. Cell 167, 1495–1510.e12 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Brown, J. M. & Hazen, S. L. The gut microbial endocrine organ: bacterially derived signals driving cardiometabolic diseases. Annu. Rev. Med. 66, 343–359 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Plovier, H. et al. A purified membrane protein from Akkermansia muciniphila or the pasteurized bacterium improves metabolism in obese and diabetic mice. Nat. Med. 23, 107–113 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Ley, R. E., Turnbaugh, P. J., Klein, S. & Gordon, J. I. Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature 444, 1022–1023 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Cani, P. D. & Everard, A. Talking microbes: when gut bacteria interact with diet and host organs. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 60, 58–66 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Skyler, J. S. et al. Differentiation of diabetes by pathophysiology, natural history, and prognosis. Diabetes 66, 241–255 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. [No authors listed.] Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2017: summary of revisions. Diabetes Care 40, S4–S5 (2017).

  9. Hanage, W. P. Microbiology: microbiome science needs a healthy dose of scepticism. Nature 512, 247–248 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


P.D.C. is a research associate at FRS-FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique) and the recipient of grants from FNRS (convention J.0084.15, convention 3.4579.11), PDR (Projet de Recherche, convention: T.0138.14) and Walloon region DG06-FSO project (Microbes 1510053). His work is supported by the FRFS-WELBIO under grant: WELBIO-CR-2012S-02R, and, in part, by the Funds Baillet Latour (Grant for Medical Research 2015). P.D.C. is a recipient of POC ERC grant 2016 (European Research Council, Microbes4U_713547) and ERC Starting Grant 2013 (Starting grant 336452-ENIGMO).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Patrice D. Cani.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cani, P. Gut microbiota — at the intersection of everything?. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 14, 321–322 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research