We studied the relationship between food intake, gut microbiota and metabolic/inflammatory phenotypes in a dietary study with 38 obese and 11 overweight individuals and found reduced microbial gene richness to be associated with changes in metabolism and low-grade inflammation. Certain changes in diet appeared to affect gene richness and certain clinical but not inflammation variables. The resulting paper was published in Nature.



Complex gene-environment interactions are considered important in the development of obesity. The composition of the gut microbiota can determine the efficacy of energy harvest from food and changes in dietary composition have been associated with changes in the composition of gut microbial populations. The capacity to explore microbiota composition was markedly improved by the development of metagenomic approaches, which have already allowed production of the first human gut microbial gene catalogue and stratifying individuals by their gut genomic profile into different enterotypes, but the analyses were carried out mainly in non-intervention settings. To investigate the temporal relationships between food intake, gut microbiota and metabolic and inflammatory phenotypes, we conducted diet-induced weight-loss and weight-stabilization interventions in a study sample of 38 obese and 11 overweight individuals. Here we report that individuals with reduced microbial gene richness (40%) present more pronounced dys-metabolism and low-grade inflammation, as observed concomitantly in the accompanying paper. Dietary intervention improves low gene richness and clinical phenotypes, but seems to be less efficient for inflammation variables in individuals with lower gene richness. Low gene richness may therefore have predictive potential for the efficacy of intervention.


Cotillard A1, Kennedy SP, Kong LC, Prifti E, Pons N, Le Chatelier E, Almeida M, Quinquis B, Levenez F, Galleron N, Gougis S, Rizkalla S, Batto JM, Renault P; ANR MicroObes consortium, Doré J, Zucker JD, Clément K, Ehrlich SD.

Journal and Citation

Nature 500: 585 - 588 (29th August 2013)

Received 12th April 2012 | Accepted 17th July 2013 | Published online 28th August 203

DOI: 10.1038/nature12480

Link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v500/n7464/full/nature12480.html

Associated Links: Microbiology: Wealth management in the gut (News and Views in Nature by Sungsoon Fang and Ronald M. Evans).

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