Gut microbiota-derived succinate: Friend or foe in human metabolic diseases?

We provide a new perspective on succinate as a gut microbiota-derived metabolite with a key role governing intestinal homeostasis and energy metabolism

Sonia Fernández-Veledo; Joan Vendrell

2019

Scholarcy highlights

  • Gut microbiota – the complex ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our gastrointestinal tract – has a profound role in shaping the physiology of the healthy host, especially gut maturation, nutrient acquisition and energy metabolism, and the immune system
  • We focus on the tricarboxylic acid cycle metabolite succinate, which is quickly becoming a poster child for microbiota-derived metabolites with important roles in gut homeostasis, pathogen susceptibility and inflammatory-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity
  • Rather than an exhaustive summary of the literature, our goal in this review is to provide some key concepts and highlight existing questions in relation to succinate as a friend or foe in microbiota-related health and disease
  • We recently provided the first demonstration of a close relationship between circulating succinate and gut microbiota in human obese subjects
  • In relation to gut microbiota, it is clearly important to appreciate how the different ecological niches of the community interact in terms of metabolism, and how this could be used to better understand the role of microbial metabolites such as succinate in physiology and in dysbiosisrelated diseases
  • In the context of disease, several studies have revealed a clear association between gut microbiota disturbances, linked for example to antibiotic-induced dysbiosis, motility disturbances and specially IBD, and succinate accumulation in the gut lumen
  • Recent research has shed new light on the tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate succinate, which is recognized both as a fuel

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