Consumption of Mediterranean versus Western Diet Leads to Distinct Mammary Gland Microbiome Populations

Cell Rep. 2018 Oct 2;25(1):47-56.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.08.078.


Recent identification of a mammary gland-specific microbiome led to studies investigating bacteria populations in breast cancer. Malignant breast tumors have lower Lactobacillus abundance compared with benign lesions, implicating Lactobacillus as a negative regulator of breast cancer. Diet is a main determinant of gut microbial diversity. Whether diet affects breast microbiome populations is unknown. In a non-human primate model, we found that consumption of a Western or Mediterranean diet modulated mammary gland microbiota and metabolite profiles. Mediterranean diet consumption led to increased mammary gland Lactobacillus abundance compared with Western diet-fed monkeys. Moreover, mammary glands from Mediterranean diet-fed monkeys had higher levels of bile acid metabolites and increased bacterial-processed bioactive compounds. These data suggest that diet directly influences microbiome populations outside the intestinal tract in distal sites such as the mammary gland. Our study demonstrates that diet affects the mammary gland microbiome, establishing an alternative mechanistic pathway for breast cancer prevention.

Keywords: bile acid; breast; diet; hippurate; mammary gland; microbiome; oxidative stress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Diet, Western*
  • Female
  • Haplorhini
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / microbiology*
  • Microbiota*