An online atlas of human plasma metabolite signatures of gut microbiome composition

Nat Commun. 2022 Sep 23;13(1):5370. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33050-0.


Human gut microbiota produce a variety of molecules, some of which enter the bloodstream and impact health. Conversely, dietary or pharmacological compounds may affect the microbiota before entering the circulation. Characterization of these interactions is an important step towards understanding the effects of the gut microbiota on health. In this cross-sectional study, we used deep metagenomic sequencing and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography linked to mass spectrometry for a detailed characterization of the gut microbiota and plasma metabolome, respectively, of 8583 participants invited at age 50 to 64 from the population-based Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study. Here, we find that the gut microbiota explain up to 58% of the variance of individual plasma metabolites and we present 997 associations between alpha diversity and plasma metabolites and 546,819 associations between specific gut metagenomic species and plasma metabolites in an online atlas ( ). We exemplify the potential of this resource by presenting novel associations between dietary factors and oral medication with the gut microbiome, and microbial species strongly associated with the uremic toxin p-cresol sulfate. This resource can be used as the basis for targeted studies of perturbation of specific metabolites and for identification of candidate plasma biomarkers of gut microbiota composition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Uremic Toxins


  • Biomarkers
  • Uremic Toxins