Metabolic syndrome arises from complex interactions between host genetic and environmental factors.
Although it is now widely accepted that the gut microbiota plays a crucial role in host metabolism, current knowledge on the effect of host genetics on specific gut microbes related to metabolic syndrome status remains limited.
Dr Mi Young Lim and colleagues investigated the links among host genetic factors, gut microbiota and metabolic syndrome in humans.
The researchers characterised the gut microbial community composition of 655 monozygotic, and dizygotic twins and their families, of which approximately 18% had metabolic syndrome.
The team evaluated the association of metabolic syndrome status with the gut microbiota and estimated the heritability of each taxon.
|Several taxa were associated with metabolic syndrome status|
For the metabolic syndrome-related and heritable taxa, the researchers further investigated their associations with the apolipoprotein A-V gene (APOA5) single nucleotide polymorphism rs651821, which is known to be associated with triglyceride levels and metabolic syndrome.
Individuals with metabolic syndrome had a lower gut microbiota diversity than healthy individuals.
The team found that abundances of several taxa were associated with metabolic syndrome status; Sutterella, Methanobrevibacter and Lactobacillus were enriched in the metabolic syndrome group, whereas Akkermansia, Odoribacter and Bifidobacterium were enriched in the healthy group.
Among the taxa associated with metabolic syndrome status, the phylum Actinobacteria, to which Bifidobacterium belongs, had the highest heritability.
Even after adjustment for metabolic syndrome status, the researchers found that reduced abundances of Actinobacteria and Bifidobacterium were significantly linked to the minor allele at the APOA5 single nucleotide polymorphism rs651821.
Dr Lim's team concludes, "Our results suggest that an altered microbiota composition mediated by a specific host genotype can contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome."