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Immunity-Based Evolutionary Interpretation of Diet-Induced Thermogenesis


Liao, Wan-Hui; Henneberg, Maciej; Langhans, Wolfgang (2016). Immunity-Based Evolutionary Interpretation of Diet-Induced Thermogenesis. Cell Metabolism, 23(6):971-9.

Abstract

Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) has often been argued to be a physiological defense against obesity, but no empirical proof of its effectiveness in limiting human body weight gain is available. We here propose an immune explanation of DIT-i.e., that it results from the coevolution of host and gut microbiota (especially Firmicutes) that ferment ingested food and proliferate, causing periodic, vagally mediated increases in thermogenesis aimed at curtailing their expansion. Because of this evolutionary adaptive significance related to the immune system, DIT is not effective as an "adaptation" to maintain a certain body mass. Were DIT an effective adaptation to prevent obesity, the current obesity epidemic might not have occurred.

Abstract

Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) has often been argued to be a physiological defense against obesity, but no empirical proof of its effectiveness in limiting human body weight gain is available. We here propose an immune explanation of DIT-i.e., that it results from the coevolution of host and gut microbiota (especially Firmicutes) that ferment ingested food and proliferate, causing periodic, vagally mediated increases in thermogenesis aimed at curtailing their expansion. Because of this evolutionary adaptive significance related to the immune system, DIT is not effective as an "adaptation" to maintain a certain body mass. Were DIT an effective adaptation to prevent obesity, the current obesity epidemic might not have occurred.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:14 June 2016
Deposited On:20 Jun 2016 09:10
Last Modified:10 Jul 2016 09:57
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:1550-4131
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.002
PubMed ID:27304499

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