Association between body mass index and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in an adult Ukrainian population

BMC Microbiol. 2017 May 22;17(1):120. doi: 10.1186/s12866-017-1027-1.


Background: Metagenomic studies confirm that obesity is associated with a composition of gut microbiota. There are some controversies, however, about the composition of gut microbial communities in obese individuals in different populations. To examine the association between body mass index and microbiota composition in Ukrainian population, fecal concentrations of Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes (F/B) ratio were analyzed in 61 adult individuals.

Results: The relative abundance of Actinobacteria was small (5-7%) and comparable in different BMI categories. The content of Firmicutes was gradually increased while the content of Bacteroidetes was decreased with increasing body mass index (BMI). The F/B ratio also raised with increasing BMI. In an unadjusted logistic regression model, F/B ratio was significantly associated with BMI (OR = 1.23, 95% CI 1,09-1,38). This association continued to be significant after adjusting for confounders such as age, sex, tobacco smoking and physical activity (OR = 1.33, 95% CI 1,11-1,60).

Conclusions: The obtained data indicate that obese persons in Ukraine adult population have a significantly higher level of Firmicutes and lower level of Bacteroidetes compared to normal-weight and lean adults.

Keywords: Actinobacteria; Bacteroidetes; Firmicutes; Gut microbiota; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / genetics
  • Actinobacteria / isolation & purification
  • Adult
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteroidetes / genetics
  • Bacteroidetes / isolation & purification*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Exercise
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Firmicutes / genetics
  • Firmicutes / isolation & purification*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Tobacco Smoking
  • Ukraine


  • DNA, Bacterial