Elin Org , 1 , 2 , Yuna Blum 1 , Silva Kasela 2 , 3 , Margarete Mehrabian 1 , Johanna Kuusisto 4 , 5 , Antti J. Kangas 6 , Pasi Soininen 6 , 7 , Zeneng Wang 8 , Mika Ala-Korpela 6 , 7 , 9 , Stanley L. Hazen 8 , Markku Laakso 4 , 5 , Aldons J. Lusis , 1 , 10 , 11
13 April 2017
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.
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.
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.