Relationships between gut microbiota, plasma metabolites, and metabolic syndrome traits in the METSIM cohort.

Genome biology

PubMedID: 28407784

Org E, Blum Y, Kasela S, Mehrabian M, Kuusisto J, Kangas AJ, Soininen P, Wang Z, Ala-Korpela M, Hazen SL, Laakso M, Lusis AJ. Relationships between gut microbiota, plasma metabolites, and metabolic syndrome traits in the METSIM cohort. Genome Biol. 2017;18(1):70.
BACKGROUND
The gut microbiome is a complex and metabolically active community that directly influences host phenotypes. In this study, we profile gut microbiota using 16S rRNA gene sequencing in 531 well-phenotyped Finnish men from the Metabolic Syndrome In Men (METSIM) study.

RESULTS
We investigate gut microbiota relationships with a variety of factors that have an impact on the development of metabolic and cardiovascular traits. We identify novel associations between gut microbiota and fasting serum levels of a number of metabolites, including fatty acids, amino acids, lipids, and glucose. In particular, we detect associations with fasting plasma trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels, a gut microbiota-dependent metabolite associated with coronary artery disease and stroke. We further investigate the gut microbiota composition and microbiota-metabolite relationships in subjects with different body mass index and individuals with normal or altered oral glucose tolerance. Finally, we perform microbiota co-occurrence network analysis, which shows that certain metabolites strongly correlate with microbial community structure and that some of these correlations are specific for the pre-diabetic state.

CONCLUSIONS
Our study identifies novel relationships between the composition of the gut microbiota and circulating metabolites and provides a resource for future studies to understand host-gut microbiota relationships.