Regulation of Metabolism by microbial Metabolites in the Bäckhed Group

The Bäckhed Group investigates the role of bacteria associated with the human body in the development of metabolic diseases, with particular emphasis on diabetes.

Research focus

The microbial community has an immense capacity to affect host biology and is fundamental to many processes, including the development of our immune system, processing of otherwise indigestible dietary polysaccharides, and vitamin and hormone production. The gut microbiome encodes perhaps 1000-fold more genes than the human genome and provides us with numerous complementary functions and activities.

The overall aim of the Bäckhed Group is to clarify the role of bacteria associated with the human body in the development of metabolic diseases, with particular emphasis on diabetes. A main focus is to identify microbially produced metabolites that contributes to insulin resistance and their host receptors as well as identify how such metabolites affect enteroendocrine cell biology.

Main findings

“Microbial regulation of the L cell transcriptome”
Published in Scientific Reports in 2018 this study investigates the how the microbiota affects gene expression in L cells from the ileum and colon of germ-free and conventionally raised GLU-Venus mice and finds that the microbiota has a rapid and pronounced effect on the L cell transcriptome, predominantly in the ileum.

“Metformin alters the gut microbiome of individuals with treatment-naive type 2 diabetes, contributing to the therapeutic effects of the drug”
Published in Nature Medicine in 2017 this double-blind study of randomized individuals with treatment-naive type 2 diabetes on either placebo or metformin finds that metformin has strong effects on the gut microbiome.

“Signals from the gut microbiota to distant organs in physiology and disease”
Published in Nature Medicine in 2016 this Review discusses microbiota-host cross-talk and intestinal microbiome signaling to extraintestinal organs and reviews mechanisms of how this communication might contribute to host physiology and discuss how misconfigured signaling might contribute to different diseases.

Staff of the Bäckhed Group

Group leader: Professor Fredrik Bäckhed