The gut microbiota’s contribution to cardiovascular disease risk factors

Research shows that host-microbe interactions can regulate immune and metabolic pathways. Here, Fu and colleagues investigated the connection between the microbiota and selected risk factors for cardiovascular disease in humans: abnormal blood lipid levels and high body mass.

In this study of 893 subjects, researchers found 34 bacterial taxa associated with body mass index (BMI) and blood lipids. Microbiota explained 4.5% of variance in BMI, 6% in triglycerides, and 4% in high-density lipoproteins (HDL). The microbiota did not appear to be relevant to low-density lipoprotein (LDL). By accounting for 4.5% of BMI variance, microbiota data could be a more powerful predictive tool than human genetic data, which explain 2.1% of the variance.

Using this information in a new risk model, authors could explain up to 25.9% of HDL variance. They concluded that the gut microbiome plays an important role in variation of BMI and blood lipids, supporting the notion that the gut microbiota should be a ‘partner’ in helping manage metabolic syndrome.

Reference: Fu J, Bonder MJ, Cenit MC, Tigchelaar EF, Maatman A, Dekens JA, Brandsma E, Marczynska J, Imhann F, Weersma RK, Franke L, Poon TW, Xavier RJ, Gevers D, Hofker MH, Wijmenga C, Zhernakova A. (2015) The Gut Microbiome Contributes to a Substantial Proportion of the Variation in Blood Lipids. Circulation Research doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.306807

Paul Enck
Paul Enck
Prof. Dr. Paul Enck, Director of Research, Dept. of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany. His main interests are gut functions in health and disease, including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders, the role of the gut microbiota, regulation of eating and food intake and its disorders, of nausea, vomiting and motion sickness, and the psychophysiology and neurobiology of the placebo response, with specific emphasis on age and gender contributions. He has published more than 170 original data paper in scientific, peer-reviewed journals, and more than 250 book chapters and review articles. He is board member/treasurer of the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility and of the German Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, and has served as reviewer for many international journals and grant agencies.