Year in Review | Published:


Microbiota and metabolites in metabolic diseases

In 2018, more than 4,000 publications were dedicated to the study of the gut microbiota, and an important proportion investigated cardiometabolic disorders associated with overweight and obesity. Novel mechanisms and strategies have emerged, some of which were focused not only on specific bacteria or nutrients, but also on new metabolites.

Key advances

  • Faecal salinity shapes the microbiota by reducing the abundance of Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia7.

  • Imidazole propionate is increased in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM); this compound directly contributes to the development of insulin resistance6.

  • Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia muciniphila have been inversely associated with low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance and T2DM8.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Cani, P. D. Human gut microbiome: hopes, threats and promises. Gut 67, 1716–1725 (2018).

  2. 2.

    Makki, K. et al. The impact of dietary fiber on gut microbiota in host health and disease. Cell Host Microbe 23, 705–715 (2018).

  3. 3.

    Gibson, G. R. et al. Expert consensus document: the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 14, 491–502 (2017).

  4. 4.

    Brown, J. M. & Hazen, S. L. Microbial modulation of cardiovascular disease. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 16, 171–181 (2018).

  5. 5.

    Beaumont, M. et al. The gut microbiota metabolite indole alleviates liver inflammation in mice. FASEB J. 32, 6681–6693 (2018).

  6. 6.

    Koh, A. et al. Microbially produced imidazole propionate impairs insulin signaling through mTORC1. Cell 175, 947–961 (2018).

  7. 7.

    Seck, E. H. et al. Salt in stools is associated with obesity, gut halophilic microbiota and Akkermansia muciniphila depletion in humans. Int. J. Obes. (2018).

  8. 8.

    Pedret, A. et al. Effects of daily consumption of the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 on anthropometric adiposity biomarkers in abdominally obese subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Int. J. Obes. (2018).

  9. 9.

    Cani, P. D. & de Vos, W. M. Next-generation beneficial microbes: the case of Akkermansia muciniphila. Front. Microbiol. 8, 1765 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Hill, C. et al. Expert consensus document: the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 11, 506–514 (2014).

Download references


P.D.C. is a senior research associate at FRS-FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique). P.D.C. is a recipient of grants from FNRS, FRFS-WELBIO, under grant: WELBIO-CR-2017-C02, The Excellence Of Science (EOS 30770923), the Funds Baillet Latour (Grant for Medical Research 2015), POC ERC grant 2016 (European Research Council, Microbes4U_713547) and ERC Starting Grant 2013 (Starting grant 336452-ENIGMO).

Author information

Competing interests

P.D.C. is the inventor on patent applications dealing with the use of A. muciniphila and its components in the treatment of obesity and related disorders. P.D.C. is co-founder of A-Mansia biotech SA.

Correspondence to Patrice D. Cani.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark
Fig. 1: Novel mechanisms linking microbiota-derived molecules and metabolism.