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Long-term life history predicts current gut microbiome in a population-based cohort study.

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Vázquez-Castellanos, Jorge F 
Decommer, Lindsey 
Rymenans, Leen 


Extensive scientific and clinical microbiome studies have explored contemporary variation and dynamics of the gut microbiome in human health and disease1-3, yet the role of long-term life history effects has been underinvestigated. Here, we analyzed the current, quantitative microbiome composition in the older adult Bruneck Study cohort (Italians, Bruneck, n = 304 (male, 154; female, 150); age 65-98 years) with extensive clinical, demographic, lifestyle and nutritional data collected over the past 26 years4. Multivariate analysis of historical variables indicated that medication history, historical physical activity, past dietary habits and specific past laboratory blood parameters explain a significant fraction of current quantitative microbiome variation in older adults, enlarging the explanatory power of contemporary covariates by 33.4%. Prediction of current enterotype by a combination of past and contemporary host variables revealed good levels of predictability (area under the curve (AUC), 0.78-0.83), with Prevotella and dysbiotic Bacteroides 2 being the best predicted enterotypes. These findings demonstrate long-term life history effects on the microbiota and provide insights into lifestyle variables and their role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiota in later life.


Funder: Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen (FWO Vlaanderen-1236321N)

Funder: EMBO postdoctoral fellowship (349-2019)

Funder: Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG (K-Project No. 843536 and K-Centre 868624)

Funder: Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen


Humans, Male, Female, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Cohort Studies, Microbiota, Feeding Behavior

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Nat Aging

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) (30770923)
KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) (30770923)
Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS (Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research) (30770923)