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  • The role of 

    gut microbiota

    in health and metabolic disease

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    The role of 
    gut microbiota
    in health and metabolic disease

Our focus

The human intestinal tract is inhabited by 10-100 trillion microbes consisting of thousands of different species that have co-evolved with the human host. This microbial community, termed the gut microbiota, has an immense capacity to affect host biology.

It is fundamental to many processes, including development of our immune system, processing of otherwise indigestible dietary polysaccharides, and production of vitamins and hormones. However, increasing evidence indicates that perturbations of the gut microbiota contribute to a range of diseases, including obesity and cardiometabolic diseases.

More about our research

Our approach

We take a translational approach to investigate the role of the gut microbiota in cardiometabolic diseases, focusing on diabetes, hepatic steatosis, atherosclerosis, and heart failure.  

By identifying associations between gut bacteria and/or their metabolites and cardiometabolic markers in large population-based cohort studies, we generate hypotheses that could explain how the microbiota contributes to metabolic diseases.

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Our hypotheses are tested using a variety of tools, including gnotobiotic mice, primary cell culture, and bioreactors to establish causality and determine the underlying molecular mechanisms.

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Recently published

Our team has co-authored a large number of highly impactful original research and literature review articles.

To selected publications

The interplay between dietary fatty acids and gut microbiota influences host metabolism and hepatic steatosis

Open Access article, Nature Communications, 1 September, 2023

In this paper first author Marc Schöler aim to determine how dietary fatty acid composition affects the gut microbiota profile, microbiota-mediated metabolic regulation, and development of hepatic steatosis...

Microbially produced imidazole propionate is associated with heart failure and mortality

Open access article, JACC Heart Failure, April, 2023

This article, by first author Antonio Molinaro, was recently published online in JACC Heart Failure and shows how the gut microbial metabolite ImP is increased in individuals with heart failure and is a predictor of overall survival...

6α-hydroxylated bile acids mediate TGR5 signalling to improve glucose metabolism upon dietary fiber supplementation in mice

Article, Gut, February, 2023

In this article, Kassem Makki et al, show that modulation of the gut microbiota with oligofructose enriches bacteria involved in 6α-hydroxylated bile acid production and leads to TGR5-GLP1R axis activation to improve body weight and metabolism under western-style diet feeding in mice...

The potential of tailoring the gut microbiome to prevent and treat cardiometabolic disease

Review article, Nat Rev Cardiol, 14 Oct, 2022

In this review, Rima Chakaroun, Lisa Olsson, Fredrik Bäckhed provide an overview of the current evidence on the interconnectedness of the gut microbiome and CVD against the noisy backdrop of highly prevalent confounders in advanced CVD, such as increased metabolic burden and polypharmacy...

Microbiome-derived ethanol in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Article, Nature Medicine, 10 Oct, 2022

Fredrik Bäckhed is one of the Co-authors of this article were it is concluded that the human gut microbiota produces large amounts of ethanol that might be clinically relevant for the pathogenesis of NAFLD...

Our team

Our laboratory’s location, within Sahlgrenska University Hospital, provides unique opportunities to engage with clinicians and study participants and pursue basic and translational research.

To achieve our overarching aim of improving human health by targeting the gut microbiota, we have developed a research group comprising experts in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, metabolomics, proteomics, epigenetics, physiology, bioinformatics, and medicine from around the world.

All team members

Work in the Bäckhed group is supported by:

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