Interplay between Intestinal Bacterial Communities and Unicellular Parasites in a Morbidly Obese Population: A Neglected Trinomial

Obesity is an epidemic causing a metabolic health crisis. Herein, the interactions between the gut prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities, metabolic comorbidities and diet were studied. Stool samples from 56 subjects, 47 with type III obesity and 9 with type II obesity and cardiovascular risk or metabolic disease, were assessed for the richness, diversity and ecology of the bacterial gut community through metagenomics, together with the study of the presence of common unicellular eukaryote parasites (Blastocystis sp., Dientamoeba fragilis and Giardia intestinalis) by qPCR. Clinical information regarding metabolic comorbidities and non-alcoholic hepatic fatty liver disease was gathered. To assess the quality of the patients' diet, each participant filled in three dietary questionnaires. The most prevalent parasite Blastocystis sp. (46.4%), together with D. fragilis (8.9%), was found to be associated with higher mean diversity indexes regarding non-colonized subjects; the opposite of that which was observed in those with G. intestinalis (16.1%). In terms of phyla relative abundance, with Blastocystis sp. and D. fragilis, very slight differences were observed; on the contrary, G. intestinalis was related to an increase in Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, and a decrease in Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, presenting the lowest Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. At genus level, Blastocystis sp. and/or D. fragilis was accompanied with an increase in Lactobacillus spp., and a decrease in Akkermansia spp., Bifidobacterium spp. and Escherichia spp., while G. intestinalis was associated with an increase in Bacteroides spp., and a decrease in Faecalibacterium spp., Prevotella spp. and Lactobacillus spp., and the highest Bacteroides spp./Prevotella spp. ratio. Participants with non-alcoholic hepatic fatty liver presented a higher Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio, and those with type 2 diabetes displayed a significantly lower Faecalibacterium spp./Escherichia spp. ratio, due to an overrepresentation of the genus Escherichia spp. The presence of parasites was associated with variations in the richness, diversity and distribution of taxa in bacterial communities, confirming a gain in diversity associated with Blastocystis sp. and providing different functioning of the microbiota with a potential positive effect on comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Future basic and clinical studies should assess the beneficial or pathogenic effect of these eukaryotes on obese subjects and focus on deciphering whether they may imply a healthier metabolic profile.
Bibliographic reference
Caudet, Jana Trelis Villanueva, María Cifre, Susana Soriano del Castillo, José Miguel Rico Vidal, Hortensia Merino Torres, Juan Francisco 2022 Interplay between Intestinal Bacterial Communities and Unicellular Parasites in a Morbidly Obese Population: A Neglected Trinomial Nutrients 14 15 3211