Microbiota, Enteroendocrine Cells and Weight Loss in Cats

Chen Gilor, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
University of California at Davis



  • There is growing data to suggest that intestinal microbiota are involved in a wide variety of autoimmune and metabolic diseases throughout the body (e.g., multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, and diabetes).
  • The microbiome of obese cats is different from that of lean cats, and the shift in bacteria may result in changes in the efficiency of energy extraction from the diet as well as altered metabolic regulation that may perpetuate a cycle of weight gain.
  • The enteroendocrine cells (EEC) are cells in the intestinal mucosa that serve as first-line sensors of the quality and quantity of dietary nutrients in the digestive system. By nature of their physical location and capacity to integrate a variety of inputs and send a variety of messages, EEC are the mediators between the gut microbiota and the host.
  • In cats, the capacity of the EEC to secrete glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) increases with weight loss and high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diets, which subsequently makes it more difficult to maintain a lean body condition because of increased insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue.
  • In the future, therapies that inhibit this GIP response could be used in weight management for our pets.



Chen Gilor, DVM, PhD, DACVIM- University of California at Davis

Dr. Chen Gilor received his veterinary degree in 1997 from the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He worked five years in private practice before completing a small animal rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City in 2005, followed by a threeyear small animal internal medicine residency in 2008 and a doctorate degree in 2010 at the University of Illinois. Dr. Gilor then worked two years as an internal medicine consultant for IDEXX Laboratories in the U.K., and four years as an assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at The Ohio State University. Dr. Gilor now is an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. His research revolves around gastrointestinal endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity. Specifically, his research focuses on incretin hormones, the enteroendocrine cells that secrete them, and the interaction between enteroendocrine cells and gut microbiota.