Interplay between the human gut microbiome and host metabolism

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The human gut is inhabited by a complex and metabolically active microbial ecosystem. While many studies focused on the effect of individual microbial taxa on human health, their overall metabolic potential has been under-explored. Using whole-metagenome shotgun sequencing data in 1,004 twins, we first observed that unrelated subjects share, on average, almost double the number of metabolic pathways (82%) than species (43%). Then, using 673 blood and 713 faecal metabolites, we found metabolic pathways to be associated with 34% of blood and 95% of faecal metabolites, with over 18,000 significant associations, while species showed less than 3,000 associations. Finally, we estimated that the microbiome was involved in a dialogue between 71% of faecal, and 15% of blood, metabolites. This study underlines the importance of studying the microbial metabolic potential rather than focusing purely on taxonomy to find therapeutic and diagnostic targets, and provides a unique resource describing the interplay between the microbiome and the systemic and faecal metabolic environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4505
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


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