Hippurate as a metabolomic marker of gut microbiome diversity: Modulation by diet and relationship to metabolic syndrome
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Reduced gut microbiome diversity is associated with multiple disorders including metabolic syndrome (MetS) features, though metabolomic markers have not been investigated. Our objective was to identify blood metabolite markers of gut microbiome diversity, and explore their relationship with dietary intake and MetS. We examined associations between Shannon diversity and 292 metabolites profiled by the untargeted metabolomics provider Metabolon Inc. in 1529 females from TwinsUK using linear regressions adjusting for confounders and multiple testing (Bonferroni: P < 1.71 × 10−4). We replicated the top results in an independent sample of 420 individuals as well as discordant identical twin pairs and explored associations with self-reported intakes of 20 food groups. Longitudinal changes in circulating levels of the top metabolite, were examined for their association with food intake at baseline and with MetS at endpoint. Five metabolites were associated with microbiome diversity and replicated in the independent sample. Higher intakes of fruit and whole grains were associated with higher levels of hippurate cross-sectionally and longitudinally. An increasing hippurate trend was associated with reduced odds of having MetS (OR: 0.795[0.082]; P = 0.026). These data add further weight to the key role of the microbiome as a potential mediator of the impact of dietary intake on metabolic status and health.