Emerging evidence suggests that microbes resident in the human intestine represent a key environmental factor contributing to obesity-associated disorders. Here, we demonstrate that the gut microbiota-initiated trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)-generating pathway is linked to obesity and energy metabolism. In multiple clinical cohorts, systemic levels of TMAO were observed to strongly associate with type 2 diabetes. In addition, circulating TMAO levels were associated with obesity traits in the different inbred strains represented in the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel. Further, antisense oligonucleotide-mediated knockdown or genetic deletion of the TMAO-producing enzyme flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3) conferred protection against obesity in mice. Complimentary mouse and human studies indicate a negative regulatory role for FMO3 in the beiging of white adipose tissue. Collectively, our studies reveal a link between the TMAO-producing enzyme FMO3 and obesity and the beiging of white adipose tissue.
- flavin-containing monooxygenase 3