Objectives: Decreased gut microbial gene richness (MGR) and compositional changes are associated with adverse metabolism in overweight or moderate obesity, but lack characterisation in severe obesity. Bariatric surgery (BS) improves metabolism and inflammation in severe obesity and is associated with gut microbiota modifications. Here, we characterised severe obesity-associated dysbiosis (ie, MGR, microbiota composition and functional characteristics) and assessed whether BS would rescue these changes.
Design: Sixty-one severely obese subjects, candidates for adjustable gastric banding (AGB, n=20) or Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass (RYGB, n=41), were enrolled. Twenty-four subjects were followed at 1, 3 and 12 months post-BS. Gut microbiota and serum metabolome were analysed using shotgun metagenomics and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Confirmation groups were included.
Results: Low gene richness (LGC) was present in 75% of patients and correlated with increased trunk-fat mass and comorbidities (type 2 diabetes, hypertension and severity). Seventy-eight metagenomic species were altered with LGC, among which 50% were associated with adverse body composition and metabolic phenotypes. Nine serum metabolites (including glutarate, 3-methoxyphenylacetic acid and L-histidine) and functional modules containing protein families involved in their metabolism were strongly associated with low MGR. BS increased MGR 1 year postsurgery, but most RYGB patients remained with low MGR 1 year post-BS, despite greater metabolic improvement than AGB patients.
Conclusions: We identified major gut microbiota alterations in severe obesity, which include decreased MGR and related functional pathways linked with metabolic deteriorations. The lack of full rescue post-BS calls for additional strategies to improve the gut microbiota ecosystem and microbiome-host interactions in severe obesity.
Trial registration number: NCT01454232.
Keywords: gastric surgery; intestinal bacteria; intestinal tract; obesity; obesity surgery.
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