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Gut microbes signal when dinner is done

After eating, bacteria tell host to quell hunger

12:00pm, November 24, 2015
E. coli K12 bacterium

LOSS OF APPETITE  Experiments show that helpful gut bacteria like this E. coli K12 produce proteins that could influence the appetite of mice and rats.

Gut bacteria are not polite dinner guests. They fill up fast and tell their host to quit eating, too.

After only 20 minutes, helpful E. coli populations that live in animal guts produce proteins that can curb how hungry its animal partner is, researchers show November 24 in Cell Metabolism. In rodents, the proteins stimulated brain-body responses that led the animals to eat less. The new findings indicate that gut microbes could be more involved with regulating food intake in animals, including humans, than previously thought.

“It suggests that the growth and activity of the microbiome might specifically regulate appetite and feeding behavior,” says Kevin Murphy, an endocrinologist at Imperial College London not involved with the study.

Food provides loads of nutrients to the gut. There, microbes use the nourishment to maintain population size. In the lab,

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