Evidence increasingly indicates that the gut microbiome (GMB) plays a major role in health and disease. In a study published online on November 1 in Genome Biology, Robert D. Burk, M.D., Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., and their Einstein collaborators analyzed the GMB composition of nearly 1,700 Hispanic U.S. residents. The participants were recruited from the four centers of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), which include Montefiore Medical Center. How long people have lived in the U.S. and their degree of acculturation (e.g., English vs. Spanish language preference and consuming “Hispanic” foods) significantly affected key components of the GMB.
Consistent with other studies, obesity was associated with low bacterial diversity. However, the researchers also observed a surprising feature among obese individuals: higher levels of obesity were associated with a higher ratio of bacteria belonging to the Prevotella genus compared to bacteria belonging to Bacteroides genus. According to the researchers, immigration may also influence GMB in Latinos and may explain health disparities affecting Latinos living in the U.S., including the high prevalence of obesity, diabetes and asthma.
Dr. Burk is professor of pediatrics, of microbiology & immunology, of epidemiology & public health, of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, and an attending physician at Montefiore. Dr. Kaplan is professor of epidemiology & population health and holds the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation and Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine at Einstein. Dr. Kaplan is principal investigator for the National Institute of HCHS/SOL at Einstein.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 24, 2020