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In the last decade, the study of gut microbiota and its impact on human health has became a major area of research. This large microbial community, housed throughout the human gastrointestinal tract, performs many biological and metabolic functions and confers benefits to its host. Today, a number of intestinal or extra-digestive pathologies, such as obesity or IBS, are associated with an imbalance in the composition and function of intestinal microbiota so called “dysbiosis”. For technical, reproducibility, regulatory, ethical and cost reasons, in vitro gut models are an excellent complement to in vivo assays. However, to date, there is rare in vitro models of the colonic environment under diseased situation. To overcome this gap, we have recently developed an in vitro system reproducing the physicochemical and microbial parameters found in the colonic environment of obese patients. 

Main results

Obese parameters vs healthy ones

Activity analysis 

  • Changes in gas profiles
  • More SCFA and associated produced energy

Composition analysis 

  • Lower bacteria diversity
  • Lower abundances of healthy marker populations
    e.g. Akkermansiaceae and Rikenellaceae
  • Higher abundances of obese marker populations
    e.g. Prevotellaceae and Veillonellaceae

=> Validated by in vivo data in humans

Perspectives & Applications

Obese M-ARCOL model can be used

  • as an alternative to in vivo animal studies in preclinical phases
  • to perform mechanistic studies on gut microbiota
  • to test strategies aiming to restore gut microbiota eubiosis such as : 
    • Specific nutrients or diets
    • Pre or probiotic supplementation
    • Faecal microbiota transplantation

More information about M-ARCOL


Directrice Adjointe 
UMR 454 MEDIS Microbiologie Environnement Digestif et Santé