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Gut microbiota and fecal volatilome profile inspection in metabolically healthy and unhealthy obesity phenotypes.

BACKGROUND: People with metabolically healthy (MHO) and metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO) differ for the presence or absence of cardio-metabolic complications, respectively.

OBJECTIVE: Based on these differences, we are interested in deepening whether these obesity phenotypes could be linked to changes in microbiota and metabolome profiles. In this respect, the overt role of microbiota taxa composition and relative metabolic profiles is not completely understood. At this aim, biochemical and nutritional parameters, fecal microbiota, metabolome and SCFA compositions were inspected in patients with MHO and MUO under a restrictive diet regimen with a daily intake ranging from 800 to 1200 kcal.

METHODS: Blood, fecal samples and food questionnaires were collected from healthy controls (HC), and an obese cohort composed of both MHO and MUO patients. Most impacting biochemical/anthropometric variables from an a priori sample stratification were detected by applying a robust statistics approach useful in lowering the background noise. Bacterial taxa and volatile metabolites were assessed by qPCR and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, respectively. A targeted GC-MS analyses on SCFAs was also performed.

RESULTS: Instructed to follow a controlled and restricted daily calorie intake, MHO and MUO patients showed differences in metabolic, gut microbial and volatilome signatures. Our data revealed higher quantities of specific pro-inflammatory taxa (i.e., Desulfovibrio and Prevotella genera) and lower quantities of Clostridium coccoides group in MUO subset. Higher abundances in alkane, ketone, aldehyde, and indole VOC classes together with a lower amount of butanoic acid marked the faecal MUO metabolome.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to MHO, MUO subset symptom picture is featured by specific differences in gut pro-inflammatory taxa and metabolites that could have a role in the progression to metabolically unhealthy status and developing of obesity-related cardiometabolic diseases. The approach is suitable to better explain the crosstalk existing among dysmetabolism-related inflammation, nutrient intake, lifestyle, and gut dysbiosis.

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