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      Reevaluating the hype: four bacterial metabolites under scrutiny


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          With microbiome research being a fiercely contested playground in science, new data are being published at tremendous pace. The review at hand serves to critically revise four microbial metabolites widely applied in research: butyric acid, flagellin, lipoteichoic acid, and propionic acid. All four metabolites are physiologically present in healthy humans. Nevertheless, all four are likewise involved in pathologies ranging from cancer to mental retardation. Their inflammatory potential is equally friend and foe. The authors systematically analyze positive and negative attributes of the aforementioned substances, indicating chances and dangers with the use of pre- and probiotic therapeutics. Furthermore, the widespread actions of microbial metabolites on distinct organs and diseases are reconciled. Moreover, the review serves as critical discourse on scientific methods commonly employed in microbiome research and comparability as well as reproducibility issues arising thereof.

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          Energy contributions of volatile fatty acids from the gastrointestinal tract in various species.

          E BERGMAN (1990)
          The VFA, also known as short-chain fatty acids, are produced in the gastrointestinal tract by microbial fermentation of carbohydrates and endogenous substrates, such as mucus. This can be of great advantage to the animal, since no digestive enzymes exist for breaking down cellulose or other complex carbohydrates. The VFA are produced in the largest amounts in herbivorous animal species and especially in the forestomach of ruminants. The VFA, however, also are produced in the lower digestive tract of humans and all animal species, and intestinal fermentation resembles that occurring in the rumen. The principal VFA in either the rumen or large intestine are acetate, propionate, and butyrate and are produced in a ratio varying from approximately 75:15:10 to 40:40:20. Absorption of VFA at their site of production is rapid, and large quantities are metabolized by the ruminal or large intestinal epithelium before reaching the portal blood. Most of the butyrate is converted to ketone bodies or CO2 by the epithelial cells, and nearly all of the remainder is removed by the liver. Propionate is similarly removed by the liver but is largely converted to glucose. Although species differences exist, acetate is used principally by peripheral tissues, especially fat and muscle. Considerable energy is obtained from VFA in herbivorous species, and far more research has been conducted on ruminants than on other species. Significant VFA, however, are now known to be produced in omnivorous species, such as pigs and humans. Current estimates are that VFA contribute approximately 70% to the caloric requirements of ruminants, such as sheep and cattle, approximately 10% for humans, and approximately 20-30% for several other omnivorous or herbivorous animals. The amount of fiber in the diet undoubtedly affects the amount of VFA produced, and thus the contribution of VFA to the energy needs of the body could become considerably greater as the dietary fiber increases. Pigs and some species of monkey most closely resemble humans, and current research should be directed toward examining the fermentation processes and VFA metabolism in those species. In addition to the energetic or nutritional contributions of VFA to the body, the VFA may indirectly influence cholesterol synthesis and even help regulate insulin or glucagon secretion. In addition, VFA production and absorption have a very significant effect on epithelial cell growth, blood flow, and the normal secretory and absorptive functions of the large intestine, cecum, and rumen. The absorption of VFA and sodium, for example, seem to be interdependent, and release of bicarbonate usually occurs during VFA absorption.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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            Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases

            The multiple beneficial effects on human health of the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, synthesized from non-absorbed carbohydrate by colonic microbiota, are well documented. At the intestinal level, butyrate plays a regulatory role on the transepithelial fluid transport, ameliorates mucosal inflammation and oxidative status, reinforces the epithelial defense barrier, and modulates visceral sensitivity and intestinal motility. In addition, a growing number of studies have stressed the role of butyrate in the prevention and inhibition of colorectal cancer. At the extraintestinal level, butyrate exerts potentially useful effects on many conditions, including hemoglobinopathies, genetic metabolic diseases, hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, and ischemic stroke. The mechanisms of action of butyrate are different; many of these are related to its potent regulatory effects on gene expression. These data suggest a wide spectrum of positive effects exerted by butyrate, with a high potential for a therapeutic use in human medicine.
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              Cytoplasmic flagellin activates caspase-1 and secretion of interleukin 1beta via Ipaf.

              Macrophages respond to Salmonella typhimurium infection via Ipaf, a NACHT-leucine-rich repeat family member that activates caspase-1 and secretion of interleukin 1beta. However, the specific microbial salmonella-derived agonist responsible for activating Ipaf is unknown. We show here that cytosolic bacterial flagellin activated caspase-1 through Ipaf but was independent of Toll-like receptor 5, a known flagellin sensor. Stimulation of the Ipaf pathway in macrophages after infection required a functional salmonella pathogenicity island 1 type III secretion system but not the flagellar type III secretion system; furthermore, Ipaf activation could be recapitulated by the introduction of purified flagellin directly into the cytoplasm. These observations raise the possibility that the salmonella pathogenicity island 1 type III secretion system cannot completely exclude 'promiscuous' secretion of flagellin and that the host capitalizes on this 'error' by activating a potent host-defense pathway.

                Author and article information

                European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
                Akadémiai Kiadó
                1 March 2015
                20 December 2014
                : 5
                : 1 ( otherID: VRG7W6904000 )
                : 1-13
                [ 1 ] Medical University of Graz Research Unit of Translational Neurogastroenterology, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology Universitätsplatz 4 8010 Graz Austria
                Review Article

                Medicine,Immunology,Health & Social care,Microbiology & Virology,Infectious disease & Microbiology
                butyric acid,propionic acid,lipoteichoic acid,flagellin,microbial metabolites,microbiota


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