Diet, Genetics, and the Gut Microbiome Drive Dynamic Changes in Plasma Metabolites

Cell Rep. 2018 Mar 13;22(11):3072-3086. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.02.060.


Diet, genetics, and the gut microbiome are determinants of metabolic status, in part through production of metabolites by the gut microbiota. To understand the mechanisms linking these factors, we performed LC-MS-based metabolomic analysis of cecal contents and plasma from C57BL/6J, 129S1/SvImJ, and 129S6/SvEvTac mice on chow or a high-fat diet (HFD) and HFD-treated with vancomycin or metronidazole. Prediction of the functional metagenome of gut bacteria by PICRUSt analysis of 16S sequences revealed dramatic differences in microbial metabolism. Cecal and plasma metabolites showed multifold differences reflecting the combined and integrated effects of diet, antibiotics, host background, and the gut microbiome. Eighteen plasma metabolites correlated positively or negatively with host insulin resistance across strains and diets. Over 1,000 still-unidentified metabolite peaks were also highly regulated by diet, antibiotics, and genetic background. Thus, diet, host genetics, and the gut microbiota interact to create distinct responses in plasma metabolites, which can contribute to regulation of metabolism and insulin resistance.

Keywords: TMAO; antibiotics; bile acids; cecal metabolomics; diabetes; diet; gut microbiome; obesity; serum lipids; serum metabolomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / pathology