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The role of iron homeostasis in the microbiome mediated modulation of metabolic syndrome

A link has been recognized between iron overload and metabolic syndrome (MetS), a health disorder that greatly increases the risk of many chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. MetS is also associated with a modified microbiome, suggesting a causative relationship. Nevertheless, research into the mechanisms leading to metabolic dysfunction after iron overload and dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance) is lacking.

This project is designed to examine the general hypothesis that iron-mediated gut dysbiosis has a negative impact on peripheral metabolism. The research team will characterize changes in gut microbiota composition upon iron overload in MetS patients and in mouse models of altered iron status and distribution; verify the functional significance of this alteration via fecal transplantation; and examine cellular mechanisms of iron action in a unique three-dimensional artificial gut model.

New knowledge derived from these studies may allow for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches related to bacterial signatures and mediators that penetrate the gut and influence peripheral metabolic status in patients with MetS. The project will be led by York University in Canada and the Technion Faculty of Medicine, Israel, in collaboration with Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand.

This project was selected for funding through the fifth research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program. This initiative is a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Fabiano Santos
Total Funding
CA$ 669,000.00
Middle East
Institution Country
Project Leader
Gary Sweeney
York University

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