The Gut Microbiota and Their Metabolites in Human Arterial Stiffness

Evany Dinakis, Michael Nakai, Paul A. Gill, Stephanie Yiallourou, Yusuke Sata, Jane Muir, Melinda Carrington, Geoffrey A. Head, David M. Kaye, Francine Z. Marques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Gut microbiota-derived metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have vasodilator properties in animal and human ex vivo arteries. However, the role of the gut microbiota and SCFAs in arterial stiffness in humans is still unclear. Here we aimed to determine associations between the gut microbiome, SCFA and their G-protein coupled sensing receptors (GPCRs) in relation to human arterial stiffness. Methods: Ambulatory arterial stiffness index (AASI) was determined from ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring in 69 participants from regional and metropolitan regions in Australia (55.1% women; mean, 59.8± SD, 7.26 years of age). The gut microbiome was determined by 16S rRNA sequencing, SCFA levels by gas chromatography, and GPCR expression in circulating immune cells by real-time PCR. Results: There was no association between metrics of bacterial α and β diversity and AASI or AASI quartiles in men and women. We identified two main bacteria taxa that were associated with AASI quartiles: Lactobacillus spp. was only present in the lowest quartile, while Clostridium spp. was present in all quartiles but the lowest. AASI was positively associated with higher levels of plasma, but not faecal, butyrate. Finally, we identified that the expression of GPR43 (FFAR2) and GPR41 (FFAR3) in circulating immune cells were negatively associated with AASI. Conclusions: Our results suggest that arterial stiffness is associated with lower levels of the metabolite-sensing receptors GPR41/GPR43 in humans, blunting its response to BP-lowering metabolites such as butyrate. The role of Lactobacillus spp. and Clostridium spp., as well as butyrate-sensing receptors GPR41/GPR43, in human arterial stiffness needs to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1725
Number of pages10
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Metagenome
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Short-chain fatty acids

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