Author(s): Danika Bakke, Ishita Chatterjee, Annika Agrawal, Yang Dai, and Jun Sun
Metabolic syndrome is a multi-faceted disease. The microbiota, as a newly discovered organ, contributes to the pathogenesis and progression of metabolic syndrome. Recent studies have demonstrated that nuclear receptors play critical roles in metabolic diseases. In the current review, we discuss the general role of the microbiome in health and metabolic syndrome. We summarize the functions of the nuclear receptor vitamin D receptor (VDR) in metabolism. The focus of this review is the novel roles of vitamin D/VDR signaling in regulating inflammation and the microbiome, especially in obesity. Furthermore, we extend our discussion of potential gut-liver axis mediated by VDR signaling and microbiota in obesity. Finally, we discuss the potential clinical application of probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation in prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome. Insights into nuclear receptors in metabolism and metabolic diseases will allow us to develop new strategies for fighting metabolic diseases.