The metabolic system regulates food intake, nutrient uptake, catabolic and anabolic pathways, as well as the distribution of nutrients within the human body. Proper function of the metabolic system is essential for health, and the dysfunction of key metabolic elements manifest in the metabolic syndrome, one of the most common diseases worldwide.
We recently found an integrative effect of intestinal microbial colonization and innate immune signaling on metabolic disease. Members of the microbiota influence the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and hepatic inflammation. We found a pathway by which intestinal bacteria exert pro-inflammatory functions not only on local intestinal tissue, but on systemic metabolic parameters.
The inflammasome has been implicated in a wide variety of metabolic processes. NLRP3 inflammasome signaling impacts hepatocyte function, the development of artherosclerotic lesions, inflammation and cell death in the pancreas, and adipose tissue homeostasis.
We are currently exploring the interplay between innate immune signaling, the intestinal microbiota, and organism-wide metabolic functions.