Objective: Hepatic steatosis (HS) is common in adolescents with obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Gut microbiota are altered in adults with obesity, HS, and PCOS, which may worsen metabolic outcomes, but similar data is lacking in youth.
Methods: Thirty-four adolescents with PCOS and obesity underwent stool and fasting blood collection, oral glucose tolerance testing, and MRI for hepatic fat fraction (HFF). Fecal bacteria were profiled by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing.
Results: 50% had HS (N = 17, age 16.2±1.5 years, BMI 38±7 kg/m2, HFF 9.8[6.5, 20.7]%) and 50% did not (N = 17, age 15.8±2.2 years, BMI 35±4 kg/m2, HFF 3.8[2.6, 4.4]%). The groups showed no difference in bacterial α-diversity (richness p = 0.202; evenness p = 0.087; and diversity p = 0.069) or global difference in microbiota (β-diversity). Those with HS had lower % relative abundance (%RA) of Bacteroidetes (p = 0.013), Bacteroidaceae (p = 0.009), Porphyromonadaceae (p = 0.011), and Ruminococcaceae (p = 0.008), and higher Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes (F:B) ratio (47.8% vs. 4.3%, p = 0.018) and Streptococcaceae (p = 0.034). Bacterial taxa including phyla F:B ratio, Bacteroidetes, and family Bacteroidaceae, Ruminococcaceae and Porphyromonadaceae correlated with metabolic markers.
Conclusions: Obese adolescents with PCOS and HS have differences in composition of gut microbiota, which correlate with metabolic markers, suggesting a modifying role of gut microbiota in HS and PCOS.