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Microbes have always been thought to be a critical inhabitant of the colobine gastrointestinal tract given their ability to break down the fiber and toxins often associated with a leafy diet. In this chapter, we summarize current knowledge of the colobine gut microbiome and propose topics for future study. We begin by describing the composition and function of the colobine hindgut microbiome as it compares to other primates, as well as ruminants. Next we explore the microbiome as a tool for understanding and assessing colobine health outcomes both in captivity and in response to degradation of habitats in the wild. Finally, we outline some best practices and caveats for future studies of the colobine gut microbiome more generally. Although there is currently a dearth of studies describing colobine host-gut microbe interactions, existing data suggest that the potential for the gut microbiome to influence colobine health, ecology, and evolution is great.
Diverse physiological features characterize the diapause state. Development is halted or dramatically retarded, the cell cycle is arrested, metabolic rates are suppressed, and a global metabolic shift from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism is evident. Energy reserves and body water are usually not replenished during diapause, thus conservation of these resources is essential. Patterns of heartbeat and discontinuous gas exchange are distinct during diapause. Structural modifications such as flight muscle degeneration in adults and cytoskeletal distinctions are evident at both tissue and transcriptomic levels. Defense responses are usually bolstered. Heat shock proteins are commonly upregulated, as are immune and antioxidant responses, as well as cold-hardening mechanisms and hypoxia responses essential for surviving in winter habitats that are oxygen-limited. Diapause is not static, as evidenced by systematic shifts in metabolism and energy sources tapped at different phases of diapause, as well as changes in responsiveness to exogenous hormones or environmental stress.
Urinary O-desmethylangolensin (ODMA) concentrations provide a functional gut microbiome marker of dietary isoflavone daidzein metabolism to ODMA. Individuals who do not have gut microbial environments that produce ODMA have less favourable cardiometabolic and cancer risk profiles. Urinary metabolomics profiles were evaluated in relation to ODMA metabotypes within and between individuals over time. Secondary analysis of data was conducted from the BEAN2 trial, which was a cross-over study of premenopausal women consuming 6 months on a high and a low soya diet, each separated by a 1-month washout period. In all of the 672 samples in the study, sixty-six of the eighty-four women had the same ODMA metabotype at seven or all eight time points. Two or four urine samples per woman were selected based on temporal metabotypes in order to compare within and across individuals. Metabolomics assays for primary metabolism and biogenic amines were conducted in sixty urine samples from twenty women. Partial least-squares discriminant analysis was used to compare metabolomics profiles. For the same ODMA metabotype across different time points, no profile differences were detected. For changes in metabotype within individuals and across individuals with different metabotypes, distinct metabolomes emerged. Influential metabolites (variables importance in projection score > 2) included several phenolic compounds, carnitine and derivatives, fatty acid and amino acid metabolites and some medications. Based on the distinct metabolomes of producers v. non-producers, the ODMA metabotype may be a marker of gut microbiome functionality broadly involved in nutrient and bioactive metabolism and should be evaluated for relevance to precision nutrition initiatives.
The association between maternal metabolic status at the time of conception and subsequent embryogenesis and offspring development has been studied in detail. However, less attention has been given to the significance of paternal nutrition and metabolism in directing offspring health. Despite this disparity, emerging evidence has begun to highlight an important connection between paternal metabolic well-being, semen quality, embryonic development and ultimately adult offspring health. This has established a new component within the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease hypothesis. Building on the decades of understanding and insight derived from the numerous models of maternal programming, attention is now becoming focused on defining the mechanisms underlying the links between paternal well-being, post-fertilisation development and offspring health. Understanding how the health and fitness of the father impact on semen quality is of fundamental importance for providing better information to intending fathers. Furthermore, assisted reproductive practices such as in vitro fertilisation rely on our ability to select the best quality sperm from a diverse and heterogeneous population. With considerable advances in sequencing capabilities, our understanding of the molecular and epigenetic composition of the sperm and seminal plasma, and their association with male metabolic health, has developed dramatically over recent years. This review will summarise our current understanding of how a father's metabolic status at the time of conception can affect sperm quality, post-fertilisation embryonic and fetal development and offspring health.
According to ancient Hebrew tradition, human beings are soil that is divinely animated. This suggests that humanity cannot thrive apart from the earth that inspires and nurtures its life. Recent discoveries in soil science and human physiology indicate that the necessity and intimacy of humanity’s attachments to soil are greater than we might suppose. People are “rooted” beings. This chapter explores what the lives of plants have to teach us about the character of this rootedness, and thus argues that human life is not only animal but also plant in its nature. This is not a reduction of humans to plants but an opening to rethinking what is required of people if they are to live long and well in their places.
The aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is multifactorial, with diet and gut microbiota playing an important role. Nonetheless, there are very few studies, particularly clinical research, which have explored the interaction between diet and gut microbiota. In the current review, we summarise the evidence from clinical trials exploring the interactions between the gut microbiota and diet in the management of IBD. Data from the effect of exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) on the gut microbiota of children with active Crohn's disease (CD), receiving induction treatment, offer opportunities to understand the role of gut microbiota in underlying disease pathogenesis and develop novel dietary and pharmacological microbial therapeutics. In contrast, the evidence which links the effectiveness of food-based dietary therapies for IBD with mechanisms involving the gut microbiota is far less convincing. The microbial signals arising from these dietary therapies are inconsistent and vary compared to the effects of effective treatment with EEN in CD.
Microbiome, the study of microbial communities in specific environments, has developed significantly since the Human Microbiome Project began. Microbiomes have been associated with changes within environmental niches and the development of various diseases. The development of high-throughput technology such as next-generation sequencing has also allowed us to perform transcriptome studies, which provide accurate functional profiling data. Metabolome studies, which analyse the metabolites found in the environment, are the most direct environmental condition indicator. Although each dataset provides valuable information on its own, the integration of multiple datasets provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between the host, agent and environment. Therefore, network analysis using multiple datasets might give a clearer understanding of disease pathogenesis.
General-population studies investigating the biological correlates of anhedonia/amotivation might be informative for treatment breakthroughs for a number of clinical conditions. Reduced gut-microbial diversity might lead to an anhedonic/amotivational syndrome (“sickness behaviour”). However, how gut-microbial diversity contribute to this clinical phenotype is a key gap in knowledge. We hypothesised the endocannabinoid system would be at play.
We tested the hypothesis that the endocannabinoid system mediates the association between gut-microbial diversity and anhedonia/amotivation
Secondary data analysis on 786 volunteer twins (TwinsUK). Measures of gut-microbiome, faecal endocannabinoid metabolites, and anhedonia/amotivation were collected over five years. To test our hypothesis we used a multilevel mediation model using alpha diversity as predictor, faecal levels of the endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) as mediator, and anhedonia/amotivation as outcome. Analyses were adjusted for obesity, diet, antidepressants, and sociodemographic covariates.
Mean age was 65.2±7.6; 27% were obese and 4.7% were on antidepressants. Alpha diversity was significantly associated with anhedonia/amotivation (β=-0.37; 95%CI: -0.71 to -0.03; P=0.03). Faecal PEA levels mediated this association: the indirect effect was significant (β=-0.13; 95%CI: -0.24 to -0.01; P=0.03), as was the total effect (β=-0.38; 95%CI: -0.72 to -0.04; P=0.03). The direct effect of alpha diversity on anhedonia/amotivation was attenuated fully
We provided the first evidence showing that the association between gut-microbial features and anhedonia/amotivation is mediated by the endocannabinoid system. These findings shed light on a new therapeutic target in an area of unmet clinical need.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is one of the most common chronic disorders in adolescence with still high mortality rates. Knowledge on gut-brain interaction might help to develop new treatments, as severe starvation-induced changes of the microbiome in AN-patients have been demonstrated, which do not alleviate with weight gain. In our own pilot study alpha-diversity was increased in patients with AN after short-term weight recovery, while beta diversity showed clear group differences with healthy controls before and after weight gain. A reduction of taxa belonging to Enterobacteriaceae at admission and discharge and an increase in taxa belonging to Lachnospiraceae at discharge were typically found in patients with AN. The work plan of our European project comprises an observational study and two phase II RCTs with the application of omega-3-PUFA and a multistrain psychobiotic to both, humans and rodents. With the help of a well-established animal model for AN (activity-based anorexia, ABA), the effect of stool transplants from patients to rodents will be analysed. Longitudinal MRI will be conducted in rodents together with cellular and molecular brain analyses. In addition, immune response and circulating antibodies associated with the presence of certain bacterial strains and interaction with hunger and satiety hormones will be explored. We hope that by this translational research we may systematically investigate the role of an altered microbiome for the course of AN and to identify new therapeutic tools.
This project is funded by ERA-NET of the European Union.
The differential diagnosis between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often challenging and detrimental to early and timely treatment. Co-current and overlapping symptoms contribute to erode differential diagnostic accuracy, based mainly on clinical assessment supported by standardized instruments and reports from parents and teachers. The microbiota was recently considered a valuable resource in the search for biological markers in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Our objective was to examine the published literature in order to clarify the role of the microbiome as a possible differential biomarker between ASD and ADHD.
Five hundred and sixteen articles were reviewed in order to contextualize the role of Gut- Brain Axis in neurodevelopment and neurodevelopmental disorders, the microbiome as a biomarker and ultimately to unravel microbiome abnormalities reported in patients diagnosed with ASD and/or ADHD.
Although gut microbiome appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD with several reports identifying changes in gut populations and functions, a “microbial signature” is still not reached. In ADHD patients, research confirms that the composition and predicted functions of gut microbiome are also altered, but identically controversial results were found.
Future studies are needed to confirm the relationship between the composition and function of the microbiome and the occurrence or presentation of each of the disorders. A specific signature of the microbiota could then constitute itself as a differential biomarker in ASD and ADHD.
Ascaris lumbricoides, the roundworm, and Trichuris trichiura, the whipworm, are human intestinal nematode parasites; both are soil-transmitted helminths, are often placed together in an epidemiological context and both remain neglected despite high prevalence. Our understanding of parasitic disease continues to be enhanced through animal models. Despite the similarities between whipworm and roundworm, there are key differences between the two species and these have influenced the application of their respective animal models. In the case of T. trichiura, the fact that a murine equivalent, T. muris completes its life cycle in a mouse model has greatly enhanced our knowledge of whipworm biology, pathogenicity and immunology. In contrast, A. lumbricoides and its porcine equivalent, Ascaris suum, lack a rodent model in which the life cycle is completed. However, evidence continues to accumulate demonstrating that mice represent useful models of early Ascaris infection, a key stage of the life cycle. The use of mouse models for both Ascaris and Trichuris has a long history with early pioneers discovering fundamental aspects of each parasite's biology. Novel technologies and perspectives, as outlined in this special issue, demonstrate how through the prism of mouse models, we can continue to explore the similarities and differences between roundworms and whipworms.
Perturbations to the gut microbiome are implicated in altered neurodevelopmental trajectories that may shape life span risk for emotion dysregulation and affective disorders. However, the sensitive periods during which the microbiome may influence neurodevelopment remain understudied. We investigated relationships between gut microbiome composition across infancy and temperament at 12 months of age. In 67 infants, we examined if gut microbiome composition assessed at 1–3 weeks, 2, 6, and 12 months of age was associated with temperament at age 12 months. Stool samples were sequenced using the 16S Illumina MiSeq platform. Temperament was assessed using the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R). Beta diversity at age 1–3 weeks was associated with surgency/extraversion at age 12 months. Bifidobacterium and Lachnospiraceae abundance at 1–3 weeks of age was positively associated with surgency/extraversion at age 12 months. Klebsiella abundance at 1–3 weeks was negatively associated with surgency/extraversion at 12 months. Concurrent composition was associated with negative affectivity at 12 months, including a positive association with Ruminococcus-1 and a negative association with Lactobacillus. Our findings support a relationship between gut microbiome composition and infant temperament. While exploratory due to the small sample size, these results point to early and late infancy as sensitive periods during which the gut microbiome may exert effects on neurodevelopment.
There is mounting evidence that microbiome composition is intimately and dynamically connected with host energy balance and metabolism. The gut microbiome is emerging as a novel target for counteracting the chronically positive energy balance in obesity, a disease of pandemic scale which contributes to >70 % of premature deaths. This scoping review explores the potential for therapeutic modulation of gut microbiota as a means of prevention and/or treatment of obesity and obesity-associated metabolic disorders. The evidence base for interventional approaches which have been shown to affect the composition and function of the intestinal microbiome is summarised, including dietary strategies, oral probiotic treatment, faecal microbiota transplantation and bariatric surgery. Evidence in this field is still largely derived from preclinical rodent models, but interventional studies in obese populations have demonstrated metabolic improvements effected by microbiome-modulating treatments such as faecal microbiota transplantation, as well as drawing attention to the unappreciated role of microbiome modulation in well-established anti-obesity interventions, such as dietary change or bariatric surgery. The complex relationship between microbiome composition and host metabolism will take time to unravel, but microbiome modulation is likely to provide a novel strategy in the limited armamentarium of effective treatments for obesity.
Strenuous physical activity, sleep deprivation and psychological stress are common features of military field training. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of supplementation with a synbiotic ice cream on salivary IgA, gastrointestinal symptoms, well-being indicators and gut microbiota in young military participants undergoing field training. Sixty-five military completed the study: one group was supplemented for 30 d with synbiotic ice cream containing: 2·1 × 108 CFU/g for Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and 2·7 × 109 CFU/g for Bifidobacterium animalis BB-12 and 2·3 g of inulin in the 60 g of ice cream at manufacture, and the other with a placebo ice cream. Volunteers were evaluated at pre-supplementation (baseline), post-supplementation and after a 5-d military training. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genera were measured in stool samples and both showed a higher differential abundance post-supplementation and training. Salivary IgA and gastrointestinal symptoms decreased at post-training in both groups (P < 0·05; main effect of time); however, supplementation with synbiotic did not mitigate this effect. Tenseness and sleepiness were decreased in the synbiotic-treated group, but not in the placebo group at post-military training (P = 0·01 and 0·009, respectively; group × time effect). The other well-being indicators were not affected by the synbiotic supplementation. In conclusion, 30 d of synbiotic ice cream supplementation containing inulin, L. acidophilus LA-5 and B. animalis BB-12 favourably modulated gut microbiota and improved tenseness and sleepiness in healthy young military undergoing a 5-d field training. These improvements may be relevant to this population as they may influence the decision-making process in an environment of high physical and psychological stress.
As individuals seek increasingly individualised nutrition and lifestyle guidance, numerous apps and nutrition programmes have emerged. However, complex individual variations in dietary behaviours, genotypes, gene expression and composition of the microbiome are increasingly recognised. Advances in digital tools and artificial intelligence can help individuals more easily track nutrient intakes and identify nutritional gaps. However, the influence of these nutrients on health outcomes can vary widely among individuals depending upon life stage, genetics and microbial composition. For example, folate may elicit favourable epigenetic effects on brain development during a critical developmental time window of pregnancy. Genes affecting vitamin B12 metabolism may lead to cardiometabolic traits that play an essential role in the context of obesity. Finally, an individual’s gut microbial composition can determine their response to dietary fibre interventions during weight loss. These recent advances in understanding can lead to a more complete and integrated approach to promoting optimal health through personalised nutrition, in clinical practice settings and for individuals in their daily lives. The purpose of this review is to summarise presentations made during the DSM Science and Technology Award Symposium at the 13th European Nutrition Conference, which focused on personalised nutrition and novel technologies for health in the modern world.
Individuals with mental illness have poorer physical health, nutritional status, and lowered life expectancy. Optimising their physical and nutritional status has become an increasingly important therapeutic goal. Current experience with COVID-19 has further emphasised the susceptibility to physical illness and poorer outcomes amongst individuals with mental illness and those who are nutritionally compromised. Although life as we knew it has been suspended until the widespread roll-out of a vaccine, individuals can take immediate action to improve physical and mental health by attending to and optimising their nutritional well-being. Clinicians within mental health services have a crucial role to play in assisting such change, and reminding their patients of the importance of pursuing a healthy and balanced diet.
Rapid infant growth increases the risk for adult obesity. The gut microbiome is associated with early weight status; however, no study has examined how interactions between microbial and host ribonucleic acid (RNA) expression influence infant growth. We hypothesized that dynamics in infant stool micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) would be associated with both microbial activity and infant growth via putative metabolic targets. Stool was collected twice from 30 full-term infants, at 1 month and again between 6 and 12 months. Stool RNA were measured with high-throughput sequencing and aligned to human and microbial databases. Infant growth was measured by weight-for-length z-score at birth and 12 months. Increased RNA transcriptional activity of Clostridia (R = 0.55; Adj p = 3.7E-2) and Burkholderia (R = −0.820, Adj p = 2.62E-3) were associated with infant growth. Of the 25 human RNAs associated with growth, 16 were miRNAs. The miRNAs demonstrated significant target enrichment (Adj p < 0.05) for four metabolic pathways. There were four associations between growth-related miRNAs and growth-related phyla. We have shown that longitudinal trends in gut microbiota activity and human miRNA levels are associated with infant growth and the metabolic targets of miRNAs suggest these molecules may regulate the biosynthetic landscape of the gut and influence microbial activity.
The Nutrition Society Spring Conference (28–29 March 2021) focussed on the gut microbiome and health that was divided across three separate but inter-related areas from the impact of nutrition on the gut microbiome, the cause and effect of nutrition and health on the gut microbiome to the interaction between pathogens and gut microbiota. The program was supported by two plenary lectures, the first discussed the computational methods commonly employed to examine gut microbiota and the concluding lecture presented the interaction between gut microbiome, nutrition and health in older populations.
Dietary patterns influence gut microbiota composition. To date, there has not been an assessment of diet and gut microbiota in Veterans, who have a history of unique environmental exposures, including military deployment, that may influence associations between diet and gut microbiota. Our aim was to characterise Veteran habitual dietary intake and quality, and to evaluate correlations between diet and gut microbiota. We administered Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) and collected stool samples from 330 Veterans. FFQ data were used to generate Healthy Eating Indices (HEI) of dietary quality. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify two dietary patterns we defined as “Western” and “Prudent.” Stool samples underwent 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and the resulting data were used to evaluate associations with dietary variables/indices. Analyses included linear regression of α-diversity, constrained analysis of principal coordinates of β-diversity, and multivariate association with linear models and Analysis of Composition of Microbiomes analyses of dietary factors and phylum- and genus-level taxa. There were no significant associations between dietary patterns or factors and α- or β-diversity. At the phylum level, increasing HEI scores were inversely associated with relative abundance of Actinobacteria, and added sugar was inversely associated with abundance of Verrucomicrobia. Veterans largely consumed a Western-style diet, characterised by poor adherence to nutritional guidelines.