The Gut Microflora and its Metabolites Regulate the Molecular Crosstalk between Diabetes and NeurodegenerationSusan Westfall1, Nikita Lomis1, Surya Pratap Singh2, Si Yuan Dai1 and Satya Prakash1*
1Biomedical Technology and Cell Therapy Research Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 3775 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3A2B4, Canada
- Corresponding Author:
- Satya Prakash
Biomedical Technology and Cell Therapy Research Laboratory
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Experimental Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
3775 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3A2B4, Canada
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: April 30, 2015; Accepted Date: June 30, 2015; Published Date: July 04, 2015
Citation: Westfall S, Lomis N, Singh SP, Dai SY, Prakash S (2015) The Gut Microflora and its Metabolites Regulate the Molecular Crosstalk between Diabetes and Neurodegeneration. J Diabetes Metab 6:577. doi:10.4172/2155-6156.1000577
Copyright: © 2015 Westfall S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The gut microflora is a community of trillions of bacterial cells synergistically inhabiting the human gastrointestinal tract. These microbes contact everything that is consumed and release regulatory factors that affect host energy homeostasis, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, activation of immune cells, oxidative state, epithelial cell wall integrity and even neurological signals. The gut microflora is essentially an independent organ supporting human health where imbalances in the gut community populations (dysbiosis) manifest in disease. Diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease share a similar molecular pathology rooted in gut microflora activity. Both of these conditions are associated with a dysbiosis characterized by low species diversity, a higher proportion of pathobionts at the expense of symbionts, an abundance of proinflammatory microbes and fewer butyrate-producing strains. Many of these factors can be ameliorated with Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. probiotic treatment aimed to reestablish healthy gut microflora diversity. Indeed, certain commensal and pathogenic strains promote chronic low-grade inflammation that stresses cellular infrastructure eventually leading to apoptosis in both the pancreas and the brain. Also, lack of some beneficial fermentation products such as butyrate and ferulic acid initiates a cascade of events disrupting metabolic homeostasis. Finally, signaling initiated by the microflora and its metabolites has been shown to disrupt the delicate intracellular balance of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling, which fundamentally regulates events leading up to diabetes and neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis. The following review investigates the relationship between the manifestation and molecular signaling of diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders and how the balance of gut microflora populations is critical to both prevent and possibly treat these diseases.