Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What's your gut type? Gut bacteria could help with diagnostics and influence treatments

Date:
April 21, 2011
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Humans have three different gut types, scientists have found. The study also uncovers microbial genetic markers that are related to traits like age, gender and body-mass index. The findings could help diagnose and predict outcomes for diseases like colorectal cancer, and inform treatment.

This is an artistic impression of the three human gut types.
Credit: EMBL/P.Riedinger

In the future, when you walk into a doctor's surgery or hospital, you could be asked not just about your allergies and blood group, but also about your gut type. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and collaborators in the international MetaHIT consortium, have found that humans have three different gut types.

The study, published in Nature, also uncovers microbial genetic markers that are related to traits like age, gender and body-mass index. These bacterial genes could one day be used to help diagnose and predict outcomes for diseases like colo-rectal cancer, while information about a person's gut type could help inform treatment.

We all have bacteria in our gut that help digest food, break down toxins, produce some vitamins and essential amino acids, and form a barrier against invaders. But the composition of that microbial community -- the relative numbers of different kinds of bacteria -- varies from person to person.

"We found that the combination of microbes in the human intestine isn't random," says Peer Bork, who led the study at EMBL: "our gut flora can settle into three different types of community -- three different ecosystems, if you like."

Bork and colleagues first used stool samples to analyse the gut bacteria of 39 individuals from three different continents (Europe, Asia and America), and later extended the study to an extra 85 people from Denmark and 154 from America. They found that all these cases could be divided into three groups, based on which species of bacteria occurred in high numbers in their gut: each person could be said to have one of three gut types, or enterotypes.

The scientists don't yet know why people have these different gut types, but speculate that they could be related to differences in how their immune systems distinguish between 'friendly' and harmful bacteria, or to different ways of releasing hydrogen waste from cells.

Like blood groups, these gut types are independent of traits like age, gender, nationality and body-mass index. But the scientists did find for example, that the guts of older people appear to have more microbial genes involved in breaking down carbohydrates than those of youngsters, possibly because as we age we become less efficient at processing those nutrients, so in order to survive in the human gut, bacteria have to take up the task.

"The fact that there are bacterial genes associated with traits like age and weight indicates that there may also be markers for traits like obesity or diseases like colo-rectal cancer," Bork says, "which could have implications for diagnosis and prognosis."

If this proves to be the case, when diagnosing or assessing the likelihood of a patient contracting a particular disease, doctors could look for clues not only in the patient's body but also in the bacteria that live in it. And after diagnosis, treatment could be adapted to the patient's gut type to ensure the best results.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Jeroen Raes, Eric Pelletier, Denis Le Paslier, Takuji Yamada, Daniel R. Mende, Gabriel R. Fernandes, Julien Tap, Thomas Bruls, Jean-Michel Batto, Marcelo Bertalan, Natalia Borruel, Francesc Casellas, Leyden Fernandez, Laurent Gautier, Torben Hansen, Masahira Hattori, Tetsuya Hayashi, Michiel Kleerebezem, Ken Kurokawa, Marion Leclerc, Florence Levenez, Chaysavanh Manichanh, H. Bjørn Nielsen, Trine Nielsen, Nicolas Pons, Julie Poulain, Junjie Qin, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Sebastian Tims, David Torrents, Edgardo Ugarte, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Jun Wang, Francisco Guarner, Oluf Pedersen, Willem M. de Vos, Søren Brunak, Joel Doré, MetaHIT Consortium, Jean Weissenbach, S. Dusko Ehrlich, Peer Bork, María Antolín, François Artiguenave, Hervé M. Blottiere, Mathieu Almeida, Christian Brechot, Carlos Cara, Christian Chervaux, Antonella Cultrone, Christine Delorme, Gérard Denariaz, Rozenn Dervyn, Konrad U. Foerstner, Carsten Friss, Maarten van de Guchte, Eric Guedon, Florence Haimet, Wolfgang Huber, Johan van Hylckama-Vlieg, Alexandre Jamet, Catherine Juste, Ghalia Kaci, Jan Knol, Omar Lakhdari, Severine Layec, Karine Le Roux, Emmanuelle Maguin, Alexandre Mérieux, Raquel Melo Minardi, Christine M'rini, Jean Muller, Raish Oozeer, Julian Parkhill, Pierre Renault, Maria Rescigno, Nicolas Sanchez, Shinichi Sunagawa, Antonio Torrejon, Keith Turner, Gaetana Vandemeulebrouck, Encarna Varela, Yohanan Winogradsky, Georg Zeller. Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature09944

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "What's your gut type? Gut bacteria could help with diagnostics and influence treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420143620.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2011, April 21). What's your gut type? Gut bacteria could help with diagnostics and influence treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420143620.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "What's your gut type? Gut bacteria could help with diagnostics and influence treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420143620.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins