The prevalence of obesity is rising every year and associated comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. The gut microbiota has recently emerged as a potential target for therapeutic applications to prevent and treat those comorbidities. In this review, we focus on three conditions related to obesity in which the use of gut microbiota modulators could have benefits; mood disorders, eating behaviors, and body detoxification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). On one hand, modulation of gut-derived signals to the brain in a context of obesity is involved in the development of neuroinflammation and can subsequently alter behaviors. An altered gut microbiome could change these signals and alleviate their consequences. On the other hand, obesity is associated with an increased accumulation of lipophilic contaminants, such as POPs. Targeting the microbiota could help body detoxication by reducing bioavailability, enhancing degradation by bioremediation or their excretion through the enterohepatic circulation. Thus, a supplementation of prebiotics, probiotics, or synbiotics could represent a complementary strategy to current ones, such as medication and lifestyle modifications, to decrease depression, alter eating behaviors, and lower body burden of pollutants considering the actual obesity epidemic our society is facing.
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The research of A Tremblay is partly funded by the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance. A. Marette’s research is funded by a CIHR/Pfizer research Chair in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and cardiovascular diseases and by Sentinel North Program funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. BSY Choi is funded by doctoral scholarships from Sentinel North and from CREATE-SMAART program funded by NSERC. L. Daoust is funded by the Jean-Paul-Houle fund from Université Laval.
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Choi, B.SY., Daoust, L., Pilon, G. et al. Potential therapeutic applications of the gut microbiome in obesity: from brain function to body detoxification. Int J Obes 44, 1818–1831 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-020-0618-3