Gut microbiota and host genetics modulate the effect of diverse diet patterns on metabolic health

Front Nutr. 2022 Aug 18:9:896348. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.896348. eCollection 2022.


Metabolic diseases are major public health issues worldwide and are responsible for disproportionately higher healthcare costs and increased complications of many diseases including SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Western Diet (WD) specifically is believed to be a major contributor to the global metabolic disease epidemic. In contrast, the Mediterranean diet (MeD), Ketogenic diet (KD), and Japanese diet (JD) are often considered beneficial for metabolic health. Yet, there is a growing appreciation that the effect of diet on metabolic health varies depending on several factors including host genetics. Additionally, poor metabolic health has also been attributed to altered gut microbial composition and/or function. To understand the complex relationship between host genetics, gut microbiota, and dietary patterns, we treated four widely used metabolically diverse inbred mouse strains (A/J, C57BL/6J, FVB/NJ, and NOD/ShiLtJ) with four human-relevant diets (MeD, JD, KD, WD), and a control mouse chow from 6 weeks to 30 weeks of age. We found that diet-induced alteration of gut microbiota (α-diversity, β-diversity, and abundance of several bacteria including Bifidobacterium, Ruminococcus, Turicibacter, Faecalibaculum, and Akkermansia) is significantly modified by host genetics. In addition, depending on the gut microbiota, the same diet could have different metabolic health effects. Our study also revealed that C57BL/6J mice are more susceptible to altered gut microbiota compared to other strains in this study indicating that host genetics is an important modulator of the diet-microbiota-metabolic health axis. Overall, our study demonstrated complex interactions between host genetics, gut microbiota, and diet on metabolic health; indicating the need to consider both host genetics and the gut microbiota in the development of new and more effective precision nutrition strategies to improve metabolic health.

Keywords: 16S; body fat; genetics; glucose metabolism; gut microbiota; insulin; metabolic health; precision nutrition.