Background: The gut microbiota provides health benefits in humans by producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), whose deficiency causes multiple disorders and inflammatory diseases. However, gut bacteria producing SCFAs in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), an arrhythmia with increasing prevalence, have not been reported. To investigate major gut microbial organisms related to SCFA synthesis, SCFAs-associated KEGG orthologues (KOs), enzymatic genes, and potential producers were examined according to metagenomic data-mining in a northern Chinese cohort comprising 50 non-AF control and 50 AF patients.
Results: Compared with non-AF controls, individuals with AF had marked differences in microbial genes involved in SCFA-related synthesis, including 125 KOs and 5 SCFAs-related enzymatic genes. Furthermore, there were 10 species that harbored SCFA-synthesis related enzymatic genes, and were markedly decreased in the gut of AF patients. Notably, discriminative features about SCFA-synthesis related function, including 8 KOs (K01752, K01738, K00175, K03737, K01006, K01653, K01647 and K15023), 4 genes (menI, tesB, yciA and CO dehydrogenase acetyl-CoA synthase complex) and 2 species (Coprococcus catus and Firmicutes bacterium CAG:103), were selected as key factors based on LASSO analysis. Furthermore, PLS-SEM analysis showed that 72.8 and 91.14 % of the overall effects on gut microbiota diversity and key species on AF, respectively, were mediated by the key KOs. Meanwhile, 46.31 % of the total effects of SCFA-synthesis related function on left atrial enlargement was mediated by hsCRP. Upon incorporation of clinical properties in AF, the KO score was still significantly associated with AF incidence (OR = 0.004, P = 0.001).
Conclusions: The current study revealed that dysbiotic gut microbiota in AF is coupled with disrupted SCFA-synthesis related genes, characterized by decreased abundances of KEGG orthologues, synthesis enzymatic genes and harboring species.
Keywords: Atrial Fibrillation; Metagenomics; Short-chain fatty acids, Gut microbiota.
© 2021. The Author(s).