About this Research Topic
Close to 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese. With every extra kilogram, mortality risk increases. Due to the adverse effects of this ‘obesity epidemic’ there is a surge in interest for what foods are healthy and what to avoid. It is also becoming increasingly known that some diets, in addition to preventing disease, may promote health and longevity. Growing research shows associations between many of the positive and negative effects of diets with nutrient sensing in the brain. However, less is known about how the brain detects and responds to specific nutrients.
It is unclear how nutrients affect cellular and tissue function in large part because it has been difficult to unify a systems perspective with a mechanistic perspective on nutrient sensing. A specific nutrient can have multiple diverse and simultaneous effects on protein, lipid, and metabolite biology. Unique in the research literature, this Research Topic will focus on the impact of nutrients on health and disease by combining a systems and mechanistic perspective on gut-brain-signaling. In addition to direct effects of nutrients, the mediating role of the gut microbiome will also be addressed. Both original research and review articles are welcome.
The systems perspective will target proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics as revealed by cutting-edge mass spectrometry and bioinformatics. Especially interesting will be novel multi-omics approaches that handle vast amounts of data points – so called Big Data - to identify the physiological role of specific nutrients. This approach will provide unique insight to what is affected in the body when challenged with specific diets. To understand the outcome of these changes, the mechanistic perspective will address the molecular mechanisms by which nutrients alter the functions of pathways identified in the systems data. Here emphasis will be put on mechanisms enabling the brain to adapt to environmental challenges, e.g. metabolic regulation of synaptic plasticity.
Combining a systems perspective with a mechanistic perspective on gut-brain signaling will provide the contextual knowledge required to alleviate deleterious effects of nutrients and exploit nutrient physiology to promote health. This Research Topic presents a novel and much needed take on nutrient physiology.
Keywords: systems endocrinology, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, mass spectrometry, gut-brain signaling, gut microbiome, nutrients
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