Serum metabolite profiling yields insights into health promoting effect of A. muciniphila in human volunteers with a metabolic syndrome

Gut Microbes. 2021 Jan-Dec;13(1):1994270. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2021.1994270.


Reduction of A. muciniphila relative abundance in the gut microbiota is a widely accepted signature associated with obesity-related metabolic disorders. Using untargeted metabolomics profiling of fasting plasma, our study aimed at identifying metabolic signatures associated with beneficial properties of alive and pasteurized A. muciniphila when administrated to a cohort of insulin-resistant individuals with metabolic syndrome. Our data highlighted either shared or specific alterations in the metabolome according to the form of A. muciniphila administered with respect to a control group. Common responses encompassed modulation of amino acid metabolism, characterized by reduced levels of arginine and alanine, alongside several intermediates of tyrosine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and glutathione metabolism. The global increase in levels of acylcarnitines together with specific modulation of acetoacetate also suggested induction of ketogenesis through enhanced β-oxidation. Moreover, our data pinpointed some metabolites of interest considering their emergence as substantial compounds pertaining to health and diseases in the more recent literature.

Keywords: A. muciniphila; acylcarnitines; amino-acids; human; ketone bodies; metabolic syndrome; metabolomic; obesity; prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Akkermansia / physiology
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Metabolome / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids
  • Ketone Bodies
  • acylcarnitine
  • Carnitine

Supplementary concepts

  • Akkermansia muciniphila

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Funds Baillet Latour (Fonds Baillet Latour medical research grant 2015), a prize of the Banque Transatlantique Belgium and a FIRST Spin-Off grant from the Walloon FIRST Spin-Off grant (no. 1410053) DG06 FIRST Spin-Off grant (no. 1410053) DG06 Region (no. 1410053) and PoC ERC grant 2016 (no. Microbes4U_713547).