Faecal levels of Bifidobacterium and Clostridium coccoides but not plasma lipopolysaccharide are inversely related to insulin and HOMA index in women

Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec;32(6):1017-22. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.02.008. Epub 2013 Feb 21.


Background & aims: The abundance of specific microbes might be associated with plasma lipopolysaccharide and insulin levels. The aims were to quantify the abundance of specific microbes and plasma LPS in females and assess their association with anthropometric, body composition and biochemical measurements.

Methods: Seventeen lean (BMI 19-24.99 kg/m(2)) and fifteen obese females (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)) participated. Anthropometry, body composition, food intake and biochemical analyses were assessed. Bacterial groups in faeces were analysed by qPCR method.

Results: Lactobacillus plantarum prevalence was higher (p = 0.005) and its counts tended to be higher in lean vs. obese group (p = 0.06). Bifidobacterium genus, Bifidobacterium longum, Clostridium coccoides and Clostridium leptum counts were higher in lean women (p < 0.05); prevalence and counts of Akkermansia muciniphila tended to be higher in lean group (p = 0.09, p = 0.06, respectively). Plasma LPS levels were similar between the study groups (p > 0.05). No association was found between LPS and bacterial levels or insulin. Bifidobacteria and C. coccoides counts were inversely associated with insulin and HOMA index.

Conclusions: Abundance of specific microbes is distinct between obese and lean women, but is not associated with LPS level. Bifidobacterial and C. coccoides levels are associated with insulin sensitivity. These bacterial groups may be capable of modulating insulin action.

Keywords: BMI; Bifidobacteria; Clostridia; Gut microbiota; HDL; HOMA; High Density Lipoprotein; Insulin; LDL; LPS; Obesity; Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; TC; TC/HDL; body mass index; homeostasis model assessment; lipopolysaccharide; low density lipoprotein; qPCR; total cholesterol; total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification
  • Lipopolysaccharides / blood*
  • Microbiota
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / blood
  • Thinness / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Triglycerides