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Simplified Intestinal Microbiota to Study Microbe-Diet-Host Interactions in a Mouse Model

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Petia Kovatcheva-Datchary, Saeed Shoaie, Sunjae Lee, Annika Wahlstrom, Intawat Nookaew, Anna Hallen, Rosie Perkins, Jens Nielsen, Fredrik Bäckhed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3772-3783.e6
JournalCell Reports
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019


King's Authors


The gut microbiota can modulate human metabolism through interactions with macronutrients. However, microbiota-diet-host interactions are difficult to study because bacteria interact in complex food webs in concert with the host, and many of the bacteria are not yet characterized. To reduce the complexity, we colonize mice with a simplified intestinal microbiota (SIM) composed of ten sequenced strains isolated from the human gut with complementing pathways to metabolize dietary fibers. We feed the SIM mice one of three diets (chow [fiber rich], high-fat/high-sucrose, or zero-fat/high-sucrose diets [both low in fiber]) and investigate (1) how dietary fiber, saturated fat, and sucrose affect the abundance and transcriptome of the SIM community, (2) the effect of microbe-diet interactions on circulating metabolites, and (3) how microbiota-diet interactions affect host metabolism. Our SIM model can be used in future studies to help clarify how microbiota-diet interactions contribute to metabolic diseases.

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