Tuesday 25 May 2021

Certain gut microbiota profile can predict mortality


The composition of the research subjects' gut microbiota was analysed from stool samples collected in 2002. The researchers had access to follow-up data on the subjects' mortality until 2017, i.e., close to the present day.

Human microbiota is highly individual and consists of a vast amount of different bacteria and other microorganisms. The bacteria predicting a shorter lifespan were discovered when the researchers compared health records and billions of DNA strands retrieved from the research subjects' microbiota.


Simply put, the gut microbiome refers to the colonies of trillions of bacteria present in the human intestinal tract. Though its primary function is to aid in digestion, an increasing body of research is showing that the microbiome’s function is far more extensive, impacting virtually every bodily system, from the immune system to the neurological system and practically everything in between.

Events taking place in the gut are known to play an important role health and disease, in terms of determining the development of metabolic diseases as well as other illnesses, centered on the pathophysiology of gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases. This is in terms of the balance and composition of the intestinal microbiota. In addition, the existence of bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain has been shown to influence both behavior and cognitive function. For these reasons, there is an interest in the gut microbiome and the composition of the gut microbiota. It is also of interest that an imbalance of certain pathogens can be off-set by tilting the balance towards beneficial bacteria. This imbalance is referred to as dysbiosis. This imbalance could be due to the gain or loss of community members or changes in relative abundance of microbes.

Many bacterial strains that are known to be harmful were among the enterobacteria predicting mortality, and our lifestyle choices can have an impact on their amount in the gut. By studying the composition of the gut microbiota, we could improve mortality prediction, even while taking into account other relevant risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. The data used in this research make it possible for the first time to study the long-term health impact of the human gut microbiota on a population level.


Aaro Salosensaari, Ville Laitinen, Aki S. Havulinna, et al. Taxonomic signatures of cause-specific mortality risk in human gut microbiome. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22962-y

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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