Dysosmo, the bacteria that burns brown fat

A new bacterium has been fortuitously identified in the human intestinal microbiota by researchers at UCLouvain. Its particularity: it could play a barrier role against type-2 diabetes.

It was in the laboratory of Prof. Patrice Cani, at UCLouvain, that the discovery was made. A new intestinal bacteria, Dysosmobacter welbionis, was highlighted there after two years of research, as the team announced in the scientific journal Gut which appears today.

“We were actually trying identify other gut bacteria“, explains the FNRS-Welbio researcher of the Louvain Drug Research Institute.” By sifting through some 12,000 human gut microbiota samples coming from America, Europe, but also from Belgium, we finally put our finger on Dysosmobacter welbionis.”

“We have patented Dysosmobacter welbionis. But at this stage, we are in full strategic thinking about its use. We do not rule out licensing it.”

Patrice Cani

UCLouvain researcher

By comparing these different samples, the team realized that the famous bacterium was found in a very large fraction of the population: more than 70% of the samples analyzed showed it. Better yet, the team observes that Dysosmobacter welbionis is less present in people with type 2 diabetes than in non-diabetic subjects.

Burn fat

Researchers Emilie Moens de Hase and Tiphaine Le Roy, led by Pr Cani, then wanted understand how this bacteria worked in the body. They found that it increased the number of mitochondria (the energy factories of cells that burn fat) in brown adipose tissue, “thus reducing sugar and weight while exhibiting significant anti-inflammatory effects,” says Pr Cani.

An action reminiscent of Akkermansia’s, another bacterium studied in Patrice Cani’s laboratory and which is at the heart of food supplements developed by its spin-off A-Mansia.


What to imagine a cocktail coupling in the future Akkermansia and Dysosmobacter in future food supplements. “Why not?” Says Patrice Cani. “We have patented Dysosmobacter welbionis. But at this point we are in full strategic reflection on its use. We do not rule out licensing it. “

The name of the new bacterium was chosen by the Belgian team at the origin of its discovery. “Dysosmo” (which smells bad, in Greek), bacter (bacteria), “because, when you grow it, it has a slight odor”, specifies UCLouvain. And “Welbionis” for WELBIO, the organization of the Walloon Region which funds this research.

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