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      The influence of the human microbiome and probiotics on cardiovascular health

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          Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death worldwide. Of the many etiological factors, microorganisms constitute one. From the local impact of the gut microbiota on energy metabolism and obesity, to the distal association of periodontal disease with coronary heart disease, microbes have a significant impact on cardiovascular health. In terms of the ability to modulate or influence the microbes, probiotic applications have been considered. These are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a benefit on the host. While a number of reports have established the beneficial abilities of certain probiotic bacterial strains to reduce cholesterol and hypertension, recent research suggests that their use could be more widely applied. This review presents an up-to-date summary of the known associations of the microbiome with CVD, and potential applications of probiotic therapy.

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          Periodontitis: a polymicrobial disruption of host homeostasis.

          Periodontitis, or gum disease, affects millions of people each year. Although it is associated with a defined microbial composition found on the surface of the tooth and tooth root, the contribution of bacteria to disease progression is poorly understood. Commensal bacteria probably induce a protective response that prevents the host from developing disease. However, several bacterial species found in plaque (the 'red-complex' bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia and Treponema denticola) use various mechanisms to interfere with host defence mechanisms. Furthermore, disease may result from 'community-based' attack on the host. Here, I describe the interaction of the host immune system with the oral bacteria in healthy states and in diseased states.
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            Defining the healthy "core microbiome" of oral microbial communities

            Background Most studies examining the commensal human oral microbiome are focused on disease or are limited in methodology. In order to diagnose and treat diseases at an early and reversible stage an in-depth definition of health is indispensible. The aim of this study therefore was to define the healthy oral microbiome using recent advances in sequencing technology (454 pyrosequencing). Results We sampled and sequenced microbiomes from several intraoral niches (dental surfaces, cheek, hard palate, tongue and saliva) in three healthy individuals. Within an individual oral cavity, we found over 3600 unique sequences, over 500 different OTUs or "species-level" phylotypes (sequences that clustered at 3% genetic difference) and 88 - 104 higher taxa (genus or more inclusive taxon). The predominant taxa belonged to Firmicutes (genus Streptococcus, family Veillonellaceae, genus Granulicatella), Proteobacteria (genus Neisseria, Haemophilus), Actinobacteria (genus Corynebacterium, Rothia, Actinomyces), Bacteroidetes (genus Prevotella, Capnocytophaga, Porphyromonas) and Fusobacteria (genus Fusobacterium). Each individual sample harboured on average 266 "species-level" phylotypes (SD 67; range 123 - 326) with cheek samples being the least diverse and the dental samples from approximal surfaces showing the highest diversity. Principal component analysis discriminated the profiles of the samples originating from shedding surfaces (mucosa of tongue, cheek and palate) from the samples that were obtained from solid surfaces (teeth). There was a large overlap in the higher taxa, "species-level" phylotypes and unique sequences among the three microbiomes: 84% of the higher taxa, 75% of the OTUs and 65% of the unique sequences were present in at least two of the three microbiomes. The three individuals shared 1660 of 6315 unique sequences. These 1660 sequences (the "core microbiome") contributed 66% of the reads. The overlapping OTUs contributed to 94% of the reads, while nearly all reads (99.8%) belonged to the shared higher taxa. Conclusions We obtained the first insight into the diversity and uniqueness of individual oral microbiomes at a resolution of next-generation sequencing. We showed that a major proportion of bacterial sequences of unrelated healthy individuals is identical, supporting the concept of a core microbiome at health.
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              Soluble proteins produced by probiotic bacteria regulate intestinal epithelial cell survival and growth.

              Increased inflammatory cytokine levels and intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis leading to disruption of epithelial integrity are major pathologic factors in inflammatory bowel diseases. The probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and factors recovered from LGG broth culture supernatant (LGG-s) prevent cytokine-induced apoptosis in human and mouse intestinal epithelial cells by regulating signaling pathways. Here, we purify and characterize 2 secreted LGG proteins that regulate intestinal epithelial cell antiapoptotic and proliferation responses. LGG proteins were purified from LGG-s, analyzed, and used to generate polyclonal antibodies for immunodepletion of respective proteins from LGG-conditioned cell culture media (CM). Mouse colon epithelial cells and cultured colon explants were treated with purified proteins in the absence or presence of tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Akt activation, proliferation, tissue injury, apoptosis, and caspase-3 activation were determined. We purified 2 novel proteins, p75 (75 kilodaltons) and p40 (40 kilodaltons), from LGG-s. Each of these purified protein preparations activated Akt, inhibited cytokine-induced epithelial cell apoptosis, and promoted cell growth in human and mouse colon epithelial cells and cultured mouse colon explants. TNF-induced colon epithelial damage was significantly reduced by p75 and p40. Immunodepletion of p75 and p40 from LGG-CM reversed LGG-CM activation of Akt and its inhibitory effects on cytokine-induced apoptosis and loss of intestinal epithelial cells. p75 and p40 are the first probiotic bacterial proteins demonstrated to promote intestinal epithelial homeostasis through specific signaling pathways. These findings suggest that probiotic bacterial components may be useful for preventing cytokine-mediated gastrointestinal diseases.

                Author and article information

                Gut Microbes
                Gut Microbes
                Gut Microbes
                Taylor & Francis
                20 December 2014
                : 5
                : 6
                : 719-728
                [1 ]Canadian Center for Human Microbiome and Probiotic Research; Lawson Health Research Institute ; London, Ontario, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Western University ; London, Ontario, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Surgery; Western University ; London, Ontario, Canada
                [4 ]Division of Urology, Department of Surgery; Western University ; London, Ontario, Canada
                Author notes

                Joint senior authors.

                [* ]Correspondence to: Gregor Reid; Email: gregor@
                © 2014 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC© Grace Ettinger, Kyle MacDonald, Gregor Reid, and Jeremy P Burton

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 120, Pages: 10


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