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Sex-specific differences in intestinal microbiota associated with cardiovascular diseases.

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including coronary heart disease (CHD), display a higher prevalence in men than women. This study aims to evaluate the variations in the intestinal microbiota between men and women afflicted with CHD and delineate these against a non-CVD control group for each sex.

METHODS: Our research was conducted in the framework of the CORDIOPREV study, a clinical trial which involved 837 men and 165 women with CHD. We contrasted our findings with a reference group of 375 individuals (270 men, 105 women) without CVD. The intestinal microbiota was examined through 16S metagenomics on the Illumina MiSeq platform and the data processed with Quiime2 software.

RESULTS: Our results showed a sex-specific variation (beta diversity) in the intestinal microbiota, while alpha-biodiversity remained consistent across both sexes. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) analysis revealed sex-centric alterations in the intestinal microbiota linked to CVD. Moreover, using random forest (RF) methodology, we identified seven bacterial taxa-g_UBA1819 (Ruminococcaceae), g_Bilophila, g_Subdoligranulum, g_Phascolarctobacterium, f_Barnesiellaceae, g_Ruminococcus, and an unknown genus from the Ruminococcaceae family (Ruminococcaceae incertae sedis)-as key discriminators between men and women diagnosed with CHD. The same taxa also emerged as critical discriminators between CHD-afflicted and non-CVD individuals, when analyzed separately by sex.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a sex-specific dysbiosis in the intestinal microbiota linked to CHD, potentially contributing to the sex disparity observed in CVD incidence. Trial registration Clinical NCT00924937.

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