Chapter 14: Gut microbiota-derived metabolites in host physiology

by Francesco Strati, Federica Facciotti


The gut microbiota is a master regulator of host physiology. Intestinal microbes produce numerous metabolites through primary and secondary metabolic pathways, many of which are dependent on host diet. The effects exerted by these microbial-derived metabolites represent therefore the combined output of host-microbes interactions influencing host energy metabolism, development and function of the immune system, maintenance of mucosal integrity as well as intestinal microbiota community dynamics. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the methodologies used in metabolomics studies to dissect and understand host-microbiota interactions. Furthermore, we discuss the current knowledge on specific microbial-derived metabolites, notably secondary bile acids, short chain fatty acids and tryptophan metabolites and their role in affecting host health.

Federica Facciotti

Mucosal Immunology Lab, Department of Experimental Oncology, IEO - European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy

Federica Facciotti graduated in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Milano-Bicocca, and holds a PhD in Biology Applied to Biomedical Sciences from the University of Basel, Switzerland. She is currently Assistant Professor of General Pathology at the Univeristy of Milano-Bicocca, where directs the Mucosal Immunology laboratory. After having completed post-doctoral periods at the National Institute of Molecular Genetics, INGM, in Milan and in the United States at Yale University, New Haven, she returned to Italy in 2014 thanks to a Start-Up Grant of AIRC to start her independent career at the IEO.
She has always been involved in deciphering the role of T lymphocytes in conditions of autoimmunity and neoplastic transformations. In recent years, her research group has been involved in studying the interactions between the mucosal immune system and the intestinal microenvironment, including the microbiota, with the aim of manipulating these interactions for therapeutic purposes.
She is Coordinator of the Basic Science Comettee of AGGEI (Italian Association of Young Italian Gastroenterologists) and member of UEG (United European Gasroenterology), ECCO (European Crohn's and Colitis Organization), IG-IBD (Italian Group for the study of inflammatory bowel diseases) and of SIICA (Italian Society of Immunology and Clinical Allergology).