Specific gut bacteria may be associated with metabolic syndrome traits, as determined by a study of Pennsylvania's Old Order Amish population. The full results are reported on Aug. 15 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The researchers, led by Claire M. Fraser of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, chose the Amish as subjects for their study due to their close genetic relationships, similar lifestyles, and low prescription drug usage, among other factors, all of which reduced the number of confounders in the study and helped the researchers find connections that may not have been apparent in a more varied population. The results of the study showed that some specific species, but not full gut communities, were associated either positively or negatively with metabolic syndrome traits.
"We can't infer cause and effect, but it's an important step forward that we're starting to identify bacteria that are correlated with clinical parameters, which suggests that the gut microbiota could one day be targeted with medication, diet or lifestyle changes," says Dr. Fraser.
Citation: Zupancic ML, Cantarel BL, Liu Z, Drabek EF, Ryan KA, et al. (2012) Analysis of the Gut Microbiota in the Old Order Amish and Its Relation to the Metabolic Syndrome. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43052. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043052
Financial Disclosure: The work in this study was supported by UH2/UH3 award DK83982 from the National Institutes of Health to CMF-L and ARS, and U01 GM074518 and P30 DK072488 (Mid-Atlantic Nutrition and Obesity Research Center) to ARS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript Competing Interest Statement: Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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