Background: Recently, the potential role of gut microbiome in metabolic diseases has been revealed, especially in cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension is one of the most prevalent cardiovascular diseases worldwide, yet whether gut microbiota dysbiosis participates in the development of hypertension remains largely unknown. To investigate this issue, we carried out comprehensive metagenomic and metabolomic analyses in a cohort of 41 healthy controls, 56 subjects with pre-hypertension, 99 individuals with primary hypertension, and performed fecal microbiota transplantation from patients to germ-free mice.
Results: Compared to the healthy controls, we found dramatically decreased microbial richness and diversity, Prevotella-dominated gut enterotype, distinct metagenomic composition with reduced bacteria associated with healthy status and overgrowth of bacteria such as Prevotella and Klebsiella, and disease-linked microbial function in both pre-hypertensive and hypertensive populations. Unexpectedly, the microbiome characteristic in pre-hypertension group was quite similar to that in hypertension. The metabolism changes of host with pre-hypertension or hypertension were identified to be closely linked to gut microbiome dysbiosis. And a disease classifier based on microbiota and metabolites was constructed to discriminate pre-hypertensive and hypertensive individuals from controls accurately. Furthermore, by fecal transplantation from hypertensive human donors to germ-free mice, elevated blood pressure was observed to be transferrable through microbiota, and the direct influence of gut microbiota on blood pressure of the host was demonstrated.
Conclusions: Overall, our results describe a novel causal role of aberrant gut microbiota in contributing to the pathogenesis of hypertension. And the significance of early intervention for pre-hypertension was emphasized.
Keywords: Fecal transplant; Gut microbiota; Hypertension; Metabolism; Pre-hypertension.