Your body's microbiome has a unique 'fingerprint'

Apr 23, 2013

The microbiome is your body's set of microbial communities; microbial cells outnumber human cells roughly ten to one. Through studying the microbiome, scientists are learning more the relationship between these microbes and human health and disease. In looking at the effect of diet on the composition of the gut microbiome, Dr. Nanette Steinle of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine and Dr. Emmanuel Mongodin of the University of Maryland Institute of Genome Sciences wanted to determine if the Mediterranean diet would cause changes in an individual's microbiome. This diet was selected because it has already been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

In this small study, 8 women and 1 man ages 50-65 were provided with foods that fit the Mediterranean diet profile: high fiber, whole grains, dry beans/lentils, olive oil, and 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day. After 2 weeks, they provided blood for the analysis of fasting lipids and stool samples to determine the microbes present.

The results indicated a decrease in total cholesterol and . In addition, there was clustering of individuals' microbial profiles.

"What we expected to find was that a particular microbe species increased, but we haven't observed that," said Steinle. "Instead, each individual appears to have a unique microbiome signature, like a fingerprint. A sample from 5 people would result in 5 unique profiles. It's the first time we've observed that this signature remained true, even after manipulation of diet," Steinle added.

This study adds another clue to the complicated nature of the gut microbiome. Dr. Steinle will present the data for the American Society for Nutrition's poster sessions on Tuesday, April 23. Prior to the poster session on the microbiome on April 23, there is a symposium "Managing the Microbiome in Human " on Saturday, April 20, 8-10 am.

Explore further: Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Human breast milk microbiome changes over time

Jan 28, 2013

(HealthDay)—The microbiome of breast milk is influenced by many factors, including maternal weight and how the baby was delivered, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nu ...

uBiome project seeking to sequence the human microbiome

Feb 20, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Three health researchers have set up a project called uBiome, on the crowd sourcing site indiegogo, with the aim of sequencing the human microbiome—microbes that live on and in the hu ...

After the human genome project: The human microbiome project

Feb 28, 2013

Earth Day may be more than a month away, but another, more personal, ecosystem has been shown to also be worth protecting—within our bodies are communities of microbes that affect the behavior of human cells hosting them. ...

Recommended for you

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

8 hours ago

Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of ...

Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

Jul 29, 2014

New research from scientists at the University of Kent has shown for the first time how the structures inside cells are regulated – a breakthrough that could have a major impact on cancer therapy development.

User comments : 0