Short Chain Fatty Acid Metabolism in Relation to Gut Microbiota and Genetic Variability

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18 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely accepted that the gut microbiota plays a significant role in modulating inflammatory and immune responses of their host. In recent years, the host-microbiota interface has gained relevance in understanding the development of many non-communicable chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegeneration. Importantly, dietary fibre (DF) and associated compounds digested by the microbiota and their resulting metabolites, especially short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), were significantly associated with health beneficial effects, such as via proposed anti-inflammatory mechanisms. However, SCFA metabolic pathways are not fully understood. Major steps include production of SCFA by microbiota, uptake in the colonic epithelium, first-pass effects at the liver, followed by biodistribution and metabolism at the host's cellular level. As dietary patterns do not affect all individuals equally, the host genetic makeup may play a role in the metabolic fate of these metabolites, in addition to other factors that might influence the microbiota, such as age, birth through caesarean, medication intake, alcohol and tobacco consumption, pathogen exposure and physical activity. In this article, we review the metabolic pathways of DF, from intake to the intracellular metabolism of fibre-derived products, and identify possible sources of inter-individual variability related to genetic variation. Such variability may be indicative of the phenotypic flexibility in response to diet, and may be predictive of long-term adaptations to dietary factors, including maladaptation and tissue damage, which may develop into disease in individuals with specific predispositions, thus allowing for a better prediction of potential health effects following personalized intervention with DF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5361
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022


  • dietary fibre
  • holobiont
  • microbiome
  • nutrigenetics
  • nutrigenomics
  • short chain fatty acids
  • SNPs
  • sustainable development
  • synergies
  • translational research


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