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Gut microbiota composition explains more variance in the host cardiometabolic risk than genetic ancestry

By Sandra J. Guzmán-Castañeda, Esteban L. Ortega-Vega, Jacobo de la Cuesta-Zuluaga, Eliana P. Velásquez-Mejía, Winston Rojas, Gabriel Bedoya, Juan S Escobar

Posted 17 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/394726 (published DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2019.1634416)

Background: Cardiometabolic affections greatly contribute to the global burden of disease. The susceptibility to these conditions associates with the ancestral genetic composition and gut microbiota. However, studies explicitly testing associations between genetic ancestry and gut microbes are rare. We examined whether the ancestral genetic composition was associated with gut microbiota, and split apart the effects of genetic and non-genetic factors on host health. Results: We performed a cross-sectional study of 441 community-dwelling Colombian mestizos from five cities. We characterized the host genetic ancestry using 40 ancestry informative markers and gut microbiota through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We measured variables related to cardiometabolic health (adiposity, blood chemistry and blood pressure), diet (calories, macronutrients and fiber) and lifestyle (physical activity, smoking and medicament consumption). The ancestral genetic composition of the studied population was 67+/-6% European, 21+/-5% Native American and 12+/-5% African. While we found limited evidence of associations between genetic ancestry and gut microbiota or disease risk, we observed a strong link between gut microbes and cardiometabolic health. Multivariable-adjusted linear models indicated that gut microbiota was more likely to explain variance in host health than genetic ancestry. Further, we identified 9 OTUs associated with increased disease risk and 11 with decreased risk. Conclusions: Gut microbiota seems to be more meaningful to explain cardiometabolic disease risk than genetic ancestry in this mestizo population. Our study suggests that novel ways to control cardiometabolic disease risk, through modulation of the gut microbial community, could be applied regardless of the genetic ancestry of the intervened population.

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