March 13, 2023

A Neuropathy + Gut Connection

Kai Guo, Ph.D., lead a study published in Microbiome, that looked at changes in the microbiome (gut) in relation to a high-fat diet and neuropathy in hopes of finding a new therapeutic target for peripheral neuropathy.  Currently, there are no effective treatments.

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.

Junguk Hur, PhD

Junguk Hur, PhD, MS

University of North Dakota
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences
portrait of Dr. Eva Feldman

Eva Feldman, MD, PhD

James W. Albers Distinguished University Professor of Neurology
Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology
Director, NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies
Director, ALS Center of Excellence