Shifts in clostridia, bacteroides and immunoglobulin-coating fecal bacteria associated with weight loss in obese adolescents

Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Jul;33(7):758-67. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.260. Epub 2008 Dec 9.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of a multidisciplinary obesity treatment programme on fecal microbiota composition and immunoglobulin-coating bacteria in overweight and obese adolescents and their relationship to weight loss.

Design: Longitudinal intervention study based on both a calorie-restricted diet (calorie reduction=10-40%) and increased physical activity (calorie expenditure=15-23 kcal/kg body weight per week) for 10 weeks.

Participants: Thirty-nine overweight and obese adolescents (BMI mean 33.1 range 23.7-50.4; age mean 14.8 range, 13.0-16.0).

Measurements: BMI, BMI z-scores and plasma biochemical parameters were measured before and after the intervention. Fecal microbiota was analyzed by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Immunoglobulin-coating bacteria were detected using fluorescent-labelled F(ab')2 antihuman IgA, IgG and IgM.

Results: Reductions in Clostridium histolyticum and E. rectale-C. coccoides proportions significantly correlated with weight and BMI z-score reductions in the whole adolescent population. Proportions of C. histolyticum, C. lituseburense and E. rectale-C. coccoides dropped significantly whereas those of the Bacteroides-Prevotella group increased after the intervention in those adolescents who lost more than 4 kg. Total fecal energy was almost significantly reduced in the same group of adolescents but not in the group that lost less than 2.5 kg. IgA-coating bacterial proportions also decreased significantly in participants who lost more than 6 kg after the intervention, paralleled to reductions in C. histolyticum and E. rectale-C. coccoides populations. E. rectale-C. coccoides proportions also correlated with weight loss and BMI z-score reduction in participants whose weight loss exceeded 4 kg.

Conclusions: Specific gut bacteria and an associated IgA response were related to body weight changes in adolescents under lifestyle intervention. These results suggest interactions between diet, gut microbiota and host metabolism and immunity in obesity.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bacteroides / isolation & purification*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / isolation & purification
  • Immunoglobulin G / isolation & purification
  • Immunoglobulin M / isolation & purification
  • Immunoglobulins / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Weight Loss / immunology
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulins