They identify a new line of probiotics that could treat obesity and diabetes

A study led by scientists from the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili (IISPV)-CERCA (Reus Tarragona), could open a new therapeutic pathway for the treatment of inflammatory and metabolic diseases such as obesity or type 2 diabetes. The research indicates that the administration of specific bacteria, which act as probiotics, could decrease the levels of succinate in the blood and thus improve the health of people suffering from these diseases.

The work has been carried out in collaboration with institutions and companies from Spain, France and Italy and is published in the journal ‘Microbiome’.

Succinate is a metabolite with multiple functions produced naturally by the cells of our body and the intestinal bacteria, or microbiota. In metabolic and inflammatory diseases such as obesity and diabetes, where there is an alteration of the intestinal microbiota, the production levels of this metabolite are high, which is directly related to the characteristic inflammation in this type of patient.

Previous studies have shown that elevated levels of this metabolite in the blood are indicative of an increased risk of developing metabolic diseases. “In previous studies, we showed that these patients had more succinate-producing bacteria and fewer consumers, but we had not been able to prove a direct causal relationship,” explains Sonia Fernández-Veledo, co-director of the IISPV research team. “In this research and using obese animal models, we show for the first time that the gut microbiota is the source of elevated succinate levels in obesity and diabetes,” she adds.

Mechanism of action

“This new line of probiotics is based on the use of succinate-consuming bacteria, which would reduce inflammation and, consequently, improve glycemic levels and insulin sensitivity, two aspects that are altered in people with diabetes,” he continues. the investigator.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of obesity in the world population has tripled in the last 50 years. This disease is the most important risk factor for the development of diabetes, since 80% of people who suffer from it are obese. For its part, the WHO considers diabetes the ninth leading cause of death in the world.

“While many of the probiotics used on the market today are known to be beneficial, how they actually work is often unknown and, therefore, their effect cannot be objectively determined. Thanks to our study, now we know the mechanism of action of this new line of probiotics”, explains Isabel Huber, first author of the article.

“The result of the activity of these bacteria, moreover, is easily measurable in blood, which makes it possible to monitor their effectiveness in real time”, adds the researcher.

The objective of the research team is that these probiotics can be marketed in the future and help people with metabolic and inflammatory disorders − obesity or diabetes, but also other diseases, such as Crohn’s or non-alcoholic fatty liver − to find a new, more effective way to treat it.


Huber-Ruano et al. ‘Orally administered Odoribacter laneus improves glucose control and inflammatory profile in obese mice by depleting circulating succinate’. (2022) microbiome

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