Journal of Endocrinology

 Gut-brain signaling in energy homeostasis: the unexpected role of microbiota-derived succinate

In the context of the obesity epidemic, dietary fibers that are found essentially in fruit and vegetables attract more and more attention, since they exert numerous metabolic benefits resulting in the moderation of body weight. Short-chain fatty acids, such as propionate and butyrate, produced through their fermentation by the intestinal microbiota, have long been thought to be the mediators of these benefits. In fact, propionate and butyrate were recently shown to activate intestinal gluconeogenesis, a function exerting metabolic benefits via its capacity of signaling to the brain by gastrointestinal nerves. Recently, succinate, the precursor of propionate in the bacterial metabolism, has also been shown to exert signaling properties, including the activation of intestinal gluconeogenesis.