Microbiota

Bruxelles Woluwe

Cancer cachexia regroups a pattern of metabolic disorders occurring in cancer. This complex and highly invalidating disease remains an unmet medical need for which new therapeutic tools are warranted. Prof L. Bindels and her team are currently investigating the role and therapeutic interest of gut microbes, bacterial metabolites and microbiota-targeting foods in cancer cachexia. We combine metabolomics, next-generation sequencing and integrative physiology to dissect the relationship between gut microbes and their host in this specific context. With this project, we aim to deliver innovative nutritional and pharmacological tools that would ultimately provide a better supportive care to cancer patients.

Obesity, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases have reached epidemic proportions over the last decade and new innovative tools, both at the preventive and therapeutic levels, are warranted. The gut microbiota plays a key role in energy homeostasis and metabolic regulation. By combining preclinical and clinical studies, Profs. Delzenne, Cani and their teams are dedicating their efforts to the evaluation of the interest and role of the gut microbiota as a therapeutic target to tackle obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Current clinical studies such as Microbes4U and Food4Gut will help answering the key question of the relevance of innovative tools targeting the gut microbiota in obesity.

Obesity is characterized by cardio-metabolic risk factors (e.g., inflammation, hepatic steatosis, type 2 diabetes). Our pioneering studies have shown that gut microbes contribute to these disorders likely by modulating immunity, but also bioactive lipids production including endocannabinoids. Prof Cani and his team have developed several unique models (e.g., inducible cell specific deletion, pharmacological tools, organoids) targeting key enzymes/receptors linked with the endocannabinoid system, lipid congeners or specific immune response. Our project will allow us to unravel several axis of communication between the gut and peripheral organs such as the brain, the liver, and the adipose tissue and their role on energy, glucose, lipid metabolism, and inflammation.

The nutrition plays a key role in energy homeostasis and, metabolic regulation, namely by influencing the gut microbiota . Projects led by Prof Delzenne and her team aim to investigate the interest of some food ingredients (also known as prebiotics) which specifically target the gut microbiota in metabolic disorders. These projects focus on the understanding of the mechanisms by which nutrients can confer benefits to the host by modulating the gut microbiota activity and composition, thereby promoting the production of bacterial metabolites prone to interact with key host functions (i.e. short chain fatty acids, microbial derived conjugated fatty acids, bile acids).

The concept of the implication of the gut microbiota in the gut-to-brain axis to control food intake emerged over these last years, however the mechanisms still remain incompletely known. During obesity, the gut-to-brain axis is altered leading to an abnormal increase in energy consumption. Prof Everard and her team are studying the alterations of the gut-to-brain axis to control food intake during obesity and the implication of the gut microbiota in that context. The originality of this work is to investigate how gut microbes are able to control hedonic and reward system in healthy conditions as well as in the physiopathology of obesity.