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Highly conserved bifidobacteria in the human gut: Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum as a potential modulator of elderly innate immunity.

Beneficial Microbes 2024 April 31
Aging is a physiological and immunological process involving the deterioration of human health, characterised by the progressive alteration of organs and their functions. The speed and extent of such decline are dependent on lifestyle, environment, and genetic factors. Moreover, with advancing age, humans become progressively more fragile and prone to acute and chronic diseases. Although the intestinal microbiota is predisposed to perturbations that accompany aging and frailty, it is generally accepted that the gut microbiota engages in multiple interactions that affect host health throughout the host life span. In the current study, an exhaustive in silico investigation of gut-associated bifidobacteria in healthy individuals from birth to old age revealed that Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum is the most prevalent member, especially during infancy and in centenarians. Moreover, B. longum subsp. longum genome reconstruction and strain tracing among human gut microbiomes allowed the identification of prototypes of this taxon in the human gut microbiota of healthy elderly individuals. Such analyses guided culturomics attempts to isolate B. longum subsp. longum strains that matched the genomic content of B. longum subsp. longum prototypes from healthy elderly individuals. The molecular effects of selected B. longum subsp. longum strains on the human host were further investigated using in vitro microbe-host interactions, revealing differences in the host immune system transcriptome, with a reduction in gene expression of inflammation-related cytokines. These intriguing findings support the potential anti-aging effects of elderly associated prototypes of B. longum subsp. longum.

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