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Fundamental research

25 - 06 - 2018

The fly helps understand the links between the microbiome and good health

Fly studies show how good bacteria help us be healthy.
A healthy intestinal microbiota helps maintain the metabolism of the host organism, but the mechanisms involved are not known. The Drosophila fly whose intestine has the same cell types as a human is commonly used as a model for the study of these mechanisms.
The gut of the flies accumulate droplets of lipids (the equivalent condition of nonalcoholic fatty liver in humans) under different circumstances:
- in the absence of gut microbiota or the acetate it produces
- in the absence of innate immune cells
- In the absence of tachykinin (hormone essential to glucose metabolism) secreted by enteroendocrine cells (EE - hormone secretory cells of the intestine).
Researchers thus found that in flies, innate immunity cells and the acetate produced by the bacteria are both necessary for the secretion of tachykinin by EE.
How innate immunity establishes interactions with EE in parallel with the tolerance to the usual bacteria of the microbiota still remains to be discovered, as well as   the existence of these mechanisms in mammalian models.
Such studies help advance the understanding of the link between diet, microbiome and metabolism. For example, they suggest that fermentable carbohydrates that produce acetate may promote good metabolism after antibiotic treatment.