Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 53–63 | Cite as

Differences in gut microbiota associated with age, sex, and stool consistency in healthy Japanese subjects

  • Tomohisa Takagi
  • Yuji Naito
  • Ryo Inoue
  • Saori Kashiwagi
  • Kazuhiko Uchiyama
  • Katsura Mizushima
  • Saeko Tsuchiya
  • Osamu Dohi
  • Naohisa Yoshida
  • Kazuhiro Kamada
  • Takeshi Ishikawa
  • Osamu Handa
  • Hideyuki Konishi
  • Kayo Okuda
  • Yoshimasa Tsujimoto
  • Hiromu Ohnogi
  • Yoshito Itoh
Original Article—Alimentary Tract



Human gut microbiota is involved in host health and disease development. Investigations of age-related and sex-related alterations in gut microbiota are limited, and the association between stool consistency and gut microbiota has not been fully investigated. We investigated gut microbiota differences related to age, sex, and stool consistency in healthy Japanese subjects.


Two-hundred and seventy-seven healthy Japanese subjects aged 20–89 years were enrolled. Fecal samples were obtained to analyze the gut microbiome. We evaluated the association between stool consistency [Bristol stool scale (BSS)] and gut microbiota.


Although there were significant differences in the microbial structure between males and females, the α-diversity of gut microbiota showed no difference between males and females or among age groups. There were significant increases in genera Prevotella, Megamonas, Fusobacterium, and Megasphaera and Bifidobacterium, Ruminococcus, and Akkermansia in males and females, respectively. The ratio of hard stools (BSS types 1 and 2) was higher in females; the ratio of loose stools (BSS type 6) was higher in males. No younger male had BSS type 1 or type 2. Fusobacterium in males was significantly higher in the loose consistency group, and Oscillospira was significantly higher in the hard consistency group in males; Campylobacter, SMB53, and Turicibacter were significantly higher in the hard consistency group in females.


Several changes in gut microbiota were associated with age and sex. Stool consistency and gut microbiota associations emphasized the importance of stool consistency assessments to understand intestinal function.


Gut microbiota 16S rRNA Bristol stool scale 



This work was supported by grants-in-aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) to Tomohisa Takagi (grant no. 16K09322) and Yuji Naito (grant no. 16H05289) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and by the Grant of Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration of “Field for Knowledge Integration and Innovation” (FKII) to Yuji Naito (no. 28020006) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan. This work was performed in collaboration with Takara Bio Inc.

Author contributions

TT, NY, IR, and KS conceived the experiments; TT, UK, DO, YN, KK, IT, HO, and KH collected feces; OK, TY, and OH performed analyses of fecal bacteria; IR, KS, MK, and TA analyzed data; and TT, NY, and IY were involved in editing the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Tomohisa Takagi received lecture fees from Mochida Pharm. Co. Ltd. and Miysubishi Tanabe Pharma Co. Dr. Yuji Naito received scholarship funds from EA Pharma. Co. Ltd. and collaboration research funds from Fujifilm Medical Co., Ltd. and has been paid lecture fees by Janssen Pharma K.K., Mylan EPD Co., Takeda Pharma Co., Ltd., Mochida Pharm. Co., Ltd., EA Pharma Co., Ltd., Otsuka Pharma Co., Ltd., and Astellas Pharma Co., Ltd. Dr. Yoshito Itoh is affiliated with a department funded by donations from Nichinichi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and has received research grants from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and EA Pharma Co., Ltd. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

535_2018_1488_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (39 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 40 kb)
535_2018_1488_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (12.6 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (PPTX 12940 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Gastroenterology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomohisa Takagi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuji Naito
    • 1
  • Ryo Inoue
    • 3
  • Saori Kashiwagi
    • 1
  • Kazuhiko Uchiyama
    • 1
  • Katsura Mizushima
    • 1
  • Saeko Tsuchiya
    • 1
  • Osamu Dohi
    • 1
  • Naohisa Yoshida
    • 1
  • Kazuhiro Kamada
    • 1
  • Takeshi Ishikawa
    • 1
  • Osamu Handa
    • 1
  • Hideyuki Konishi
    • 1
  • Kayo Okuda
    • 4
  • Yoshimasa Tsujimoto
    • 4
  • Hiromu Ohnogi
    • 4
  • Yoshito Itoh
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Graduate School of Medical ScienceKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department for Medical Innovation and Translational Medical Science, Graduate School of Medical ScienceKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Animal ScienceKyoto Prefectural UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Takara Bio Inc.ShigaJapan

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