Recently, we discovered that bile acid, a main component of bile, is a host factor that regulates the composition of the cecal microbiota in rats. Because bile secretion increases on a high-fat diet and bile acids generally have strong antimicrobial activity, we speculated that bile acids would be a determinant of the gut microbiota in response to a high-fat diet. The observed changes in the rat cecal microbiota triggered by cholic acid (the most abundant bile acid in human biliary bile) administration resemble those found in animals fed high-fat diets. Here, we discuss the rationale for this hypothesis by evaluating reported diet-induced gut microbiota alterations based on the postulate that bile acids worked as an underlying determinant. The identification of host factors determining the gut microbiota greatly contributes to understanding the causal relationships between changes in the gut microbiota and disease development, which remain to be elucidated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases