Changes in gut microbiota and metabolites

Characteristic longitudinal changes in the gut microbial community during the 28-day hypobaric hypoxic challenge.

Image: The genus Prevotella was greatly reduced in the challenged rats, particularly on day 1. In contrast, the frequency of the genus Bacteroides was slightly increased, resulting in a higher ratio of Bacteroides to Prevotella in the model rats, particularly on day 1 and day 28. Abundance of the genera Parabacteroides and Aplistipes was increased at day 1 after hypoxic stimuli, with a slight decrease later, but was maintained at a higher level than in the control group at all sampling time points. Meanwhile, the frequency of the Lactococcus genus began to increase 2 weeks after the hypobaric hypoxia challenge. In contrast, the Lachnospira genus was suppressed in the acute phase after hypobaric hypoxia provocation.
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Photo credit: ©Science China Press

This study is led by Dr. Ruifu Yang (State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology) and Dr. Zhenjiang Zech Xu (State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University).

Evidence is accumulating that there are major differences in the structure and diversity of gut microorganisms in mammals or humans living at different altitudes. However, it is still unknown whether such changes play a role in the development and progression of chronic altitude-related diseases, in particular high-altitude cardiac diseases.

Therefore, the researchers first developed a rat model of heart disease at high altitude by exposing the rats to a hypobaric chamber for 28 days and simulating the altitude of 5000 meters. Then they used 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing combined with targeted metabonomics to monitor the dynamics of gut microbes and their metabolites during this process. They found that hypobaric hypoxia-induced pathological cardiac hypertrophy in rats was accompanied by a major change in gut microbiota composition, which was characterized by an increased frequency of Parabacteroides, Alistipesand lactococci genera and a larger one bacteroids to Prevotella ratio (Figure 1).

Transomics analyzes showed that the gut microbiome significantly correlated with the metabolic abnormalities of fecal short-chain fatty acids and bile acids, suggesting a remodeling of the microbiome-metabolome in the interaction network after the hypobaric hypoxia challenge. Interestingly, fecal microbiota (FMT) transplantation improved pathologic cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in hypoxic rats (Figure 2), suggesting inhibition of bacteroids and Alistipes Genus frequencies after FMT treatment (Figure 3).

Furthermore, they also showed that administration of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics can significantly alleviate heart disease at high altitude in the same model (

Taken together, this study provides insight into the longitudinal changes in gut microecology during the hypobaric hypoxia challenge, suggesting a promising strategy to prevent or treat high-altitude heart disease through regulation of gut microbiota.

See the article:

Changes in gut microbiota and metabolites associated with altitude-induced cardiac hypertrophy in rats during hypobaric hypoxia challenge

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