Upper small intestine microbiome in obesity and related metabolic disorders: A new field of investigation.
The study of the gut microbiome holds great promise for understanding and treating metabolic diseases, as its functions and derived metabolites can influence the metabolic status of the host. While research on the fecal microbiome has provided valuable insights, it tells us only part of the story. This limitation arises from the substantial variations in microorganism distribution throughout the gastrointestinal tract due to changes in physicochemical conditions. Thus, relying solely on the fecal microbiome may not be sufficient to draw comprehensive conclusions about metabolic diseases. The proximal part of the small intestine, particularly the jejunum, indeed, serves as the crucial site for digestion and absorption of nutrients, suggesting a potential role of its microbiome in metabolic regulation. Unfortunately, it remains relatively underexplored due to limited accessibility. This review presents current evidence regarding the relationships between the microbiome in the upper small intestine and various phenotypes, focusing on obesity and type 2 diabetes, in both humans and rodents. Research on humans is still limited with variability in the population and methods used. Accordingly, to better understand the role of the whole gut microbiome in metabolic diseases, studies exploring the human microbiome in different niches are needed.
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