Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a common complication in obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes, however, there are currently no effective treatments. In a murine high-fat diet obesity model of PN, dietary reversal to a low-fat standard diet restores nerve function and the nerve lipidome (amount of fat in cells) to normal. As the gut microbiome represents a potential link between dietary fat intake and nerve health, Microbiome published a study led by Kai Guo, Ph.D. that assessed shifts in microbiome community structure when PN is present.
They found that microbiome structure in the gut of high-fat diet models was altered and that certain variants correlate with metabolic health and PN. Apparent links between PN-associated gut species and certain lipid species and nerve transcriptome-related pathways additionally provide insight into new targets for microbiota and the associated underlying mechanisms of action in PN. Thus, these findings strengthen the possibility of a gut-microbiome-peripheral nervous system signature in PN and support continuing studies focused on defining the connection between the gut microbiome and nerve health to inform mechanistic insight and therapeutic opportunities.