Zhuang Li

From gut to brain: role of butyrate in the regulation of hypothalamic-driven energy metabolism

The worldwide rising prevalence of metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease continues to be a growing concern. The current pharmacological strategies are inadequate to deal with the growing rate of metabolic disorders. Short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which are naturally produced in the colon during fermentation of dietary fiber, have potential applications in combating the metabolic disorders. Butyrate consumption prevents and treats diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in preclinical studies. Interestingly, a preliminary clinical study recently showed that an increase in butyrate producing bacteria increases satiety. And we recently showed that butyrate decreases appetite in obese subjects with insulin resistance. However, the mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects of butyrate on appetite and energy metabolism are still obscure. The goal of my present studies is to determine the contribution of hypothalamic activation to the beneficial effects of butyrate on satiety and energy metabolism and to investigate the involvement of the GLP-1 driven pathway of hypothalamic activation to the effects of butyrate on energy homeostasis.