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Original article
The effect of heritability and host genetics on the gut microbiota and metabolic syndrome
  1. Mi Young Lim1,2,
  2. Hyun Ju You1,2,3,
  3. Hyo Shin Yoon1,
  4. Bomi Kwon1,
  5. Jae Yoon Lee1,
  6. Sunghee Lee1,
  7. Yun-Mi Song4,
  8. Kayoung Lee5,
  9. Joohon Sung6,
  10. GwangPyo Ko1,3,7
  1. 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  2. 2Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  3. 3Center for Human and Environmental Microbiome, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  4. 4Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  5. 5Department of Family Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  7. 7N-Bio, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr GwangPyo Ko, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea; gko{at}snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Objective Metabolic syndrome (MetS) 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 MetS status remains limited. Here, we investigated the links among host genetic factors, gut microbiota and MetS in humans.

Design We characterised the gut microbial community composition of 655 monozygotic (n=306) and dizygotic (n=74) twins and their families (n=275), of which approximately 18% (121 individuals) had MetS. We evaluated the association of MetS status with the gut microbiota and estimated the heritability of each taxon. For the MetS-related and heritable taxa, we further investigated their associations with the apolipoprotein A-V gene (APOA5) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs651821, which is known to be associated with triglyceride levels and MetS.

Results Individuals with MetS had a lower gut microbiota diversity than healthy individuals. The abundances of several taxa were associated with MetS status; Sutterella, Methanobrevibacter and Lactobacillus were enriched in the MetS group, whereas Akkermansia, Odoribacter and Bifidobacterium were enriched in the healthy group. Among the taxa associated with MetS status, the phylum Actinobacteria, to which Bifidobacterium belongs, had the highest heritability (45.7%). Even after adjustment for MetS status, reduced abundances of Actinobacteria and Bifidobacterium were significantly linked to the minor allele at the APOA5 SNP rs651821.

Conclusions Our results suggest that an altered microbiota composition mediated by a specific host genotype can contribute to the development of MetS.

  • ENTERIC BACTERIAL MICROFLORA
  • ENERGY METABOLISM
  • GENETIC POLYMORPHISMS
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