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Filipe De Vadder, Amélie Joly, and François Leulier

The worrying number of children suffering from undernutrition and consequent stunting worldwide makes the understanding of the relationship between nutritional status and postnatal growth crucial. Moreover, it is now well established that undernourished children harbor an altered microbiota, correlating with impaired growth.

In this review, we describe how murine models have been used to explore the functional relationships between endocrine regulation of growth, nutrition and gut microbiota. In numerous Mammalian species, postnatal growth is mainly regulated by the conserved GH/IGF-1 somatotropic axis that acts through endocrine and paracrine pathways, notably enabling longitudinal bone growth. Recent studies have demonstrated that the microbiota effects on growth could involve a modulation of GH and IGF-1 circulating levels. Besides, the GH/IGF-1 somatotropic axis may regulate the gut microbiota composition and diversity. Studying the bidirectional relationship between growth hormones and the gut microbiome could therefore help developing microbiota-targeting therapies in order to reduce the long-term consequences of stunting.

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Pierre Poinsot, Martin Schwarzer, Noël Peretti, and François Leulier

In most animal species, postnatal growth is controlled by conserved insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling. In mammals, juvenile growth is characterized by a longitudinal bone growth resulting from the ossification of the growth plate. This ossification is under IGF1 influence through endocrine and paracrine mechanisms. Moreover, the nutritional status has been largely described as an important factor influencing the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling. It is now well established that the gut microbiota modulates the nutrient availability of its host. Hence, studies of the interaction between nutritional status, gut microbiota and bone growth have recently emerged. Here, we review recent findings using experimental models about the impact of gut bacteria on the somatotropic axis and its consequence on the bone growth. We also discuss the perspectives of these studies in opening an entire field for clinical interventions.