The gut microbiome in subclinical atherosclerosis: a population-based multi-phenotype analysis.

The altered microbiota, considered as quantitative traits, has also been identified to play pivotal roles in the host vascular physiology and might contribute to diseases. To understand the role of gut microbiota on vascular physiology in the sub-clinical elderly population and how lifestyles affect the composition of host gut microbiota to further impact the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.Performed a population-based fecal metagenomic study over 569 elderly asymptomatic sub-clinical individuals in rural China. An association network was built based on clinical measurements and detailed epidemiologic questionnaires, including blood chemistry, arterial stiffness, carotid ultrasonography, and metagenomic datasets.Carotid arterial atherosclerosis indices, including intima-media thickness (IMT), were shown essentially in the network, and were significantly associated with living habits, socio-economic status, and diet. Using mediation analysis, we found that higher frequency of taking fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and more exercise significantly reduces carotid arteries atherosclerosis in terms of IMT, PSV and EDV values the through the mediation of Alistepes, Oligella, and Prevotella. The gut microbes explained 16.5% of the mediation effect of lifestyles on the pathogenesis of carotid atherosclerosis. After adjusted, Faecalicatena (OR = 0.20∼0.30) was shown protective in the formation of carotid athersclerosis independently, while Libanicoccus (OR = 2.39∼2.43) were hazardous to carotid arterial IMTs. KEGG/KO analyses revealed a loss of anti-inflammation function in IMT subjects.Our study provided a Chinese population-wide phenotype-metagenomic network, revealing association and mediation effect of gut microbiota on carotid artery atherosclerosis, hinting at a therapeutic and preventive potential of microbiota in vascular diseases.

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Authors: Sibo Zhu, Kelin Xu, Yanfeng Jiang, Chengkai Zhu, Chen Suo, Mei Cui, Yingzhe Wang, Ziyu Yuan, Jiangli Xue, Jiucun Wang, Tiejun Zhang, Genming Zhao, Weimin Ye, Tingting Huang, Ming Lu, Weizhong Tian, Li Jin, Xingdong Chen